April 23, 2014

If it’s not Sustainable, its Condition is Terminal.

¶   The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report. It is a distressingly dull digest of information from the NRC, posted most weekdays and Saturdays, most recently on April 22. Latest information is that 21 out of 100 US reactors were not operating, and 8 were at reduced output.

¶   By NRC reckoning, Vermont Yankee (VY) is running at 100% of capacity. When the NRC rates output at 100%, it means it is 124% of specification. The plant is at 105% of its intended lifespan and the spent fuel pool has 500% of its intended load.

¶   Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell - April 17 (Video).

¶   Essay: Nuclear Power is Demonstrably Not Safe

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.

April 23 Energy News

April 23, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “As nuclear power dies, solar rises” At long last, this Earth Day we celebrate the true dawn of the Solar Age. That sunrise is hastened, here and abroad, by the slow demise of the once-touted “too-cheap-to-meter” Atomic Age of nuclear power. [CNN]

¶   “Japan must stop financing coal” As President Obama begins his visit to Japan, 33 environmental groups from 19 countries around the world released an open letter calling on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end support for coal plants. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

¶   Scientists at Harvard and MIT announced something extraordinary: they had found a way to create solar cells that can store accumulated energy from sunlight, and then, with no more than a burst of a few photons, release that energy in a steady and continuous form. [Echonetdaily]

¶   By using computers to analyze data continuously from wind turbines, wind power forecasts of unprecedented accuracy are making it possible for Colorado to use far more renewable energy, at lower cost, than utilities ever thought possible. [MIT Technology Review]

World:

¶   “Run-of-river” hydro power, gentler and smaller-scale than massive hydroelectric projects that irretrievably flood huge areas of land, may become a $1.4 billion-dollar industry in the next 10 years, according to Tocardo International BV, a Dutch turbine maker. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou says his government is committed to developing sustainable energy and the green economy in Taiwan. Ma made the remarks at an Earth Day function for environmental protection groups at the Presidential Office in Taipei City. [Taiwan Today]

¶   The UK is set to become the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, confirming its status as the hottest market across the region. This is the first time that the UK will have been at the lead for installed PV in Europe, which is nearly always taken by Germany. [Solar Power Portal]

¶   The UK government has awarded early-stage Contracts for Difference to eight renewable energy projects totalling 4.5 GW. Five offshore wind farms range in size from 258 MW to 1200 MW. Three biomass plants will range from 299 to 645 MW. [reNews]

¶   The UK’s National Trust launched a new renewable energy trading company to sell electricity generated at the places it looks after. Its first large hydro turbine is expected to generate enough power for eight mansions, three castles and 45 holiday cottages in Wales. [Energy Live News]

US:

¶   America’s solar capacity has tripled during the past two years. Rooftop solar has been in the van of this development. Environment California’s new report focuses on the twenty cities on a mere 0.1% of the nation’s land that produce 7% of the solar energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The EIA is seriously exaggerating shale gas production in its drilling productivity report. Fortunately the EIA also publishes independent production data by shale play in its Natural Gas Weekly Update, making it possible to see how far off it is. [Resilience]

¶   Out of 600 Ohio voters surveyed, 72% responded that they favored renewable energy sources over more traditional forms of energy. When asked if they were “strongly in favor,” 52% responded in the affirmative. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Apple is offering free recycling of all its used products, at the same time it vows to power all of its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶   Google has signed a renewable energy deal with MidAmerican. Under the deal, MidAmerican Energy, a unit of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will supply up to 407 MW of wind-sourced energy to Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. [RTT News]


April 22 Energy News

April 22, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “People, not new power plants, are driving the clean energy future” To take full advantage of low-carbon, renewable energy sources, we need a flexible power grid to harness clean energy when it is available. That’s where people-driven demand response comes in. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

¶   HELMETH EU is an power-to-gas process that can be more than 85% efficient. First, power from solar or wind turns water into oxygen and hydrogen. Then, hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide to methane, the main constituent of natural gas. [Nanowerk]

World:

¶   Greenpeace has published a short report on recent trends in Chinese coal consumption, titled “The End of China’s Coal Boom.” The report shows plans of multiple provinces in China to reduce the use of coal. Beijing stands out with a reduction of 50% over the next couple of years. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Feldheim is a small, rural town about 40 miles south of Berlin. Historically, the population has only been approximately 150 although it has “exploded” to over 2,000 people due to its recent success as a perfect example of community resiliency. [Resilience]

¶   An experimental small-scale concentrating solar thermal demonstration plant at Newcastle’s Wallsend Pool plant will generate 30 kW of electricity and 150 kW of heat for the public swimming pool – enough to keep it heated, and thus open, all year round. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Nottingham clean-technology group Chinook Sciences has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation, the UK’s highest accolade for business success, for its ground-breaking work on recovering recyclable metal and generating renewable energy from waste. [Nottingham Post]

¶   A First Nations community, dependent on a big oil business, is asking that company to pay for a solar system to provide them with clean energy. With fossil fuel dependence, has come pollution, inability to hunt or fish on polluted lands, and sickness. [ThinkProgress]

¶   Poland’s Prime Minister says the European Union must create an energy union to secure its gas supply because the current dependence on Russian energy makes Europe weak. The EU was also already jointly buying uranium for its nuclear power plants. [Malaysia Sun]

US:

¶   Something rare and extraordinarily positive occurred on American television. Fortunately, through YouTube and 350.org, the rest of the world got to see it too.  A new cable TV series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” is about climate change in the 21st century. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The US DOE released its comprehensive, Strategic Plan 2014. The Plan provides a roadmap for the DOE’s work over the next four years and highlights its major priorities. The Plan promises to halve the county’s net oil imports by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Climate change is real and a real problem for the world, Apple said on Monday, announcing its progress on environment targets ahead of Earth day. Apple says that 94% of its corporate facilities and 100% of its data centres are now powered by renewable energy. [The Guardian]

¶   The DOD will break ground Friday on a solar power plant at Fort Huachuca that will be the largest installation on a US military base, demonstrating the military’s increasing reliance on alternative energy. The 18-MW plant will be owned by Tucson Electric Power. [azcentral.com]

¶   US nonhydro renewable production in the US increased to account for 6.2% of total electrical supply in 2013, up from 5.4% in 2012, with 11 states producing nonhydro renewable energy at more than twice the national average, according to the EIA. [PennEnergy]

¶   U.S. Geothermal Inc, a geothermal energy company with offices in Boise, Idaho, has announced plans to acquire a late stage development at the Geysers that has shown promise for enough steam production to power up to 26,000 homes. [North Bay Business Journal]

 


April 21 Energy News

April 21, 2014

World:

¶   Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated plans to boost construction of solar and wind power plants along with projects to transmit electricity from the clean sources. The nation will also start construction of some key nuclear power projects in eastern coastal areas. [Bloomberg]

¶   The local unit of Belgium-based Enfinity Group is set to proceed with the development of its first solar power project in the Philippines this June. The company has secured confirmation of commerciality for its planned 10-MW power project in Davao del Sur. [BusinessWorld Online Edition]

¶   Some candidates for office in the rural hinterlands of Indian states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are trying to woo voters with solar lights, which are in great demand, while the EC deployed them to conduct polls in Maoist-hit and remote areas. [Hindustan Times]

¶   Agriculture wasn’t specifically named last week when Ontario announced the last of its coal-fired power plants was being closed down. But the province said it was replacing coal generation with a mix of emission-free electricity sources. And farmers like that. [Guelph Mercury]

¶   The site of Britain’s nuclear dump at Sellafield was poorly chosen. It is virtually certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, according to an internal document released by the Environment Agency. [The Guardian]

US:

¶   Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit. This year we have deja-vu. [Triple Pundit]

¶   There aren’t too many things former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and current DFL Gov. Mark Dayton agree on, but one of them is the need to protect Minnesota from emissions from coal-fired power plants in North Dakota. [WDAZ]

¶   Within three years, some Chicago area residents could be saving money on their electric bills, thanks to power generated 500 miles away. The $2 billion Rock Island Clean Line would take 3,500 MW of power created by thousands of wind turbines in Iowa and deliver it to Illinois. [Chicago Sun-Times]

¶   Around 1 billion people live in areas at risk of sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The US East Coast has a rate of sea level rise three or four times faster than the global average, with cities, beaches and wetlands exposed to flooding, according to the new IPCC report. [Climate Central]

¶   Consolidated Edison Inc. emitted 3.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases last year. Just about everyone agrees this isn’t sustainable. Even Con Ed’s new chief executive, John McAvoy. [Crain's New York Business]


April 20 Energy News

April 20, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Onsite Generation: Can Utilities Rethink Their Business Proposition?” Can utilities adapt to emerging innovations that allow customers to “bypass” their services? Or, will power companies become the modern-day dinosaur? [Forbes]

World:

¶   The South Korean Finance Ministry says it plans to recommend easing unnecessary rules to fuel innovation and investment in technologies that can allow growth in such areas as wind, solar and geothermal power generation. [GlobalPost]

¶   The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide technical assistance to Pakistan to develop greenhouse gases reduction technologies to mitigate the effects of climate change as part of implementing the national policy on climate change. [DAWN.com]

¶   Turkish Officials are examining plans to build the country’s first ecological city, with buildings heated by burning biogas produced from pistachio shells. The pistachio-heated city would encompass 3,200 hectares, and house 200,000 people. [South China Morning Post]

¶   A UK Government inspector ordered Wiltshire Council to delete its wind farms policy from the Core Strategy. The council had planned to impose a minimum distance between housing and new wind developments, essentially preventing any from being built in the county. [The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald]

US:

¶   Natural variability alone cannot explain the extreme weather pattern that has driven both the record-setting California drought and the cooler weather seen in the Midwest and East this winter, a major new study finds. [Energy Collective]

¶   A report issued by ClimateCentral, an organization which studies changing weather trends, and tries to understand and explain their causes, says an increase in severe weather has led to a doubling of major power outages across the country in the past decade. [Energy Collective]

¶   The US DOE has proposed a minimum energy efficiency standards for linear fluorescent light bulbs, the tube lamps that are located in virtually every office, hospital, school and airport in the country. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Koch brothers, Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. Campaigns have struck Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona and are starting elsewhere. [Los Angeles Times]

¶   More than 70% of Ohioans support the state’s renewable-energy requirements, according to a poll paid for by a clean-energy business group. The poll results were released this week as the Ohio Senate is considering a proposal that would rewrite the requirements. [Norwalk Reflector]

¶   The California Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on the proposed Tylerhorse Wind Project, a 60-MW facility planned for 1,200 acres in Kern Country. Since 2009, the BLM has approved nearly 14,000 MW of renewable energy capacity. [Sierra Sun Times]

 


April 19 Energy News

April 19, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “An In-Depth Look at the Future of American Energy and How We Get There” The U.S. is poised to spend around $2 trillion over the next two decades replacing our outdated electric infrastructure. We must make sure that investment is in clean energy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

¶   Sandpoint, Idaho is on track to be the first to replace a traditional road surface with super-strong, textured glass panels that harness solar power. Locally developed 1-inch-thick panels will melt snow and ice, power LED lights embedded in the roadway and generate electricity. [The Spokesman Review]

World:

¶   Analysts at French-based energy components company Schneider Electric have concluded that extending or expanding Australia’s renewable energy target would lead to lower electricity prices, lower carbon emissions and increased competition. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Japanese government released estimates of the amount of radiation that individuals would be exposed to if they return to live in homes near the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, arousing concern over some estimates perceived as high. [GlobalPost]

¶   Sharp Corp. said it will build a large 2.2-MW solar power plant in a town within an evacuation advisory area around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Sharp plans to begin construction in December, with operations to start the following June. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office (FERC), 92.1% of new electricity generation capacity in the US in January through March of 2014 came from renewable energy sources. [Treehugger]

¶   Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar. However, that four-minute mark is not good enough for the Obama Administration, which just used the Solar Summit to launch a set of initiatives to ramp up the pace of development even faster. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota officials from enforcing it. [Bismarck Tribune]

¶   The Energy Department announced $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses. The funding will help with the SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   Four new wind farms are poised for development in Utah after Rocky Mountain Power inked agreements with the companies to buy the power over 20 years. The farms, once in action, will have the capacity to produce 300 MW, enough to power 93,600 homes. [Deseret News]

¶   According to a new analysis by SNL Financial, more than half of all new energy generation infrastructure planned for the next few years is renewable energy, with renewable power plants replacing retiring coal. [Smithsonian]

¶   Reports released by the NRC show dozens of reactors that reassessed their vulnerability to earthquakes in the wake of the March 2011 meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are at greater risk than they were originally licensed to withstand. [Environment News Service]


April 18 Energy News

April 18, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “An onshore wind cap makes no sense” The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, says Liberal Democrats in the UK Government will not accept a cap on onshore wind. The Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables. [Liberal Democrat Voice]

Business and Economics:

¶   Tackling climate change is the only way to grow the economy in the 21st century, according to Unilever CEO Paul Polman. He says businesses are starting to understand climate risks, but governments are failing to respond. [RTCC.org]

World:

¶   Ukraine is seeking U.S. investment in its biomass, wind and solar power industries. The idea is to use renewable energy to curb its reliance on fuel imports from Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last month and has troops massed on the border. [Bloomberg]

¶   Residents living near the UK’s Delabole wind farm have received a £50 ‘windfall’ payment after the turbines at the site performed better than expected. In 2013, 15% of the UK’s energy needs were met through renewables with wind power accounting for 50% of this. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   E.ON and Unipart have embarked on a UK biomass heating project. The arrangement calls for E.ON to install, operate and maintain a new 995 kW biomass boiler at Unipart’s head offices in Oxford. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶   British Airways has announced plans to power its flights using sustainable jet fuel made from landfill waste — a move it says will be equal to taking 150,000 cars off the road. The company says it’s committed to buying 50,000 tonnes of the sustainable jet fuel per year. [The Malay Mail Online]

¶   For the first time, small renewable energy generators in Ireland will be able to sell electricity on the Single Electricity Market, the wholesale electricity market across the whole island of Ireland. All sizes of turbines are welcome. [Siliconrepublic.com]

¶   Greenpeace has just put out an optimistic new report suggesting that China’s decade-long coal boom might soon come to a close, due to slowing economic growth and new crackdowns on air pollution. Citigroup and others have been making similar predictions of late. [Vox]

¶   The manager of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has admitted not having full control of the facility. Contrary to the statements of the Japanese PM, TEPCO’s Akira Ono said attempts to plug the leaks of radioactive water had failed. [RT]

US:

¶   More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the US DOE announced on Wednesday that it intends to make up to $4 billion available “for innovative US renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases.” [National Geographic]

¶   Raleigh, North Carolina ranks 15th in the country for solar projects installed between 25 and 50 watts per person, per capita, according to a new study released on Thursday by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. [Triangle Business Journal]

¶   The White House honored 10 local heroes as “Champions of Change” for their efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. One was Henry Red Cloud, founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises. [Indian Country Today Media Network]

¶   Colleges across America are trying their hand at saving the planet. And if the Princeton Review’s annual listing of the country’s greenest schools is any indication, there are a handful that probably have really low utility bills. [NEWS.GNOM.ES]

¶   A small county in Northern California has become the first county government in the state to become grid energy positive. Yolo County (population 200,000), just west of Sacramento County, now produces 152 percent more energy from solar panels than it uses. [Christian Science Monitor]

¶   Over the past months, there has been a bit of a selling spree of Entergy stock. But this sell-off isn’t coming from just anybody: these sales are by corporate top executives. Between December and early April, five Entergy execs sold off large portions of their Entergy stock. [GreenWorld]


April 17 Energy News

April 17, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “No, the IPCC climate report doesn’t call for a fracking boom” Interpretations of the report saying it endorses fracking, urging a “dash for gas” as a bridge fuel to put us on a path to a more renewable energy future are exaggerated, lack context, and are just plain wrong. [Grist]

Science and Technology:

¶   Newly built wind and solar with natural-gas as a backup can make power a fifth cheaper than nuclear backed by gas, the study by consultant Prognos AG shows. It says excluding the backup generation, renewables produce power 50% cheaper than nuclear. [Moneyweb.co.za]

¶   The IPCC report is positive on renewables’ ability to deal with carbon emissions. It addresses nuclear power as a possible solution, but also underscores considerable barriers for it. The combination illustrates the conclusion that nuclear is largely irrelevant. [Scoop.co.nz]

World:

¶   When the wind blows and the sun shines in Germany, electricity prices in the country plummet. Natural gas peaker plants are not needed, as the peaks are erased and they cannot compete with renewables. But the grid still needs balancing resources like demand response. [Energy Collective]

¶   Germany’s RWE expects profits to stabilise beyond 2014, albeit at a lower level. It will target customer-friendly products to offset a decline in traditional power generation. Renewable power and lower demand has made many of its fossil fuel plants redundant. [Business Spectator]

¶   Australian households are driving the country towards a clean energy future by themselves, spending billions on generating their own electricity and providing nearly two-thirds of all investment in renewables in Australia in 2013, and virtually all of it in 2014. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Turbines located in a sea-wall stretching across a Bristol Channel bay could provide power to over half a million homes while combating coastal erosion, preventing floods and regenerating the local economy, according to the company behind the idea. [Western Morning News]

¶   The Australian Capitol Territory government is set to announce the next stage of its introduction of large clean energy projects with a reverse auction for 200 megawatts of wind-generated electricity. The goal is to have 90% renewable sources by 2020. [The Canberra Times]

¶   GE’s Digital Energy is helping Scottish Power integrate renewable energy onto power grid. GE will provide series compensation capabilities to three facilities in southern Scotland, helping the utility meet and mitigate today’s highly complex and technical grid challenges. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶   President Obama will challenge companies Thursday to expand their use of solar power, part of his ongoing effort to leverage the power of his office to achieve goals that have been stymied by Congress. [Washington Post]

¶   Private sector interest may be helping drive the wind sector forward. IKEA says the Hoopeston Wind facility outside of Chicago will provide 165% of the electricity needed for its entire US retail and distribution footprint. [OilPrice.com]

¶   For the tenth consecutive year, Xcel Energy has been named the country’s top wind energy provider. As of 2013, Xcel Energy had 5,080 MW of wind energy on its systems, enough wind power to meet the energy needs of about 2.5 million homes. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative has entered into a power purchase agreement with an affiliate of juwi solar Inc. to develop, design and construct the 10.0-megawatt (MW) Rockfish Solar facility on 80 acres in Charles County, Maryland. [Southern Maryland News Net]

 


April 16 Energy News

April 16, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Oil Limits and Climate Change: How They Fit Together” The likely effect of oil limits–one way or the other–is to bring down the economy, and because of this bring an end to pretty much all carbon emissions very quickly. There are several ways this could happen. [Energy Collective]

¶   “Keystone report can’t have it both ways” The Keystone XL Pipeline report contains more than enough information for Secretary of State John Kerry — a respected environmental champion — to conclude that the pipeline is not in the national interest. [CNN]

Science and Technology:

¶   The IPCC report says solar has the largest technical feasibility in mitigating harmful emissions from electricity production “by a large magnitude”, considering such issues as intermittency, subsidies and economic competitiveness, water use, and land availability. [PV-Tech]

¶   Researchers at Loughborough University’s Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) have developed a multi-layer anti-reflection coating for glass surfaces that can reduce glare from solar panels and boost their efficiency. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶   First quarter clean energy investment rose 9% from last year on surging demand for rooftop solar panels. New investment in renewable power and energy efficiency rose to $47.7 billion, up from $43.6 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Bloomberg]

¶   Network operators in at least two Australian states are likely to ditch parts of their extensive poles and wire networks in regional areas as they realise that the costs of delivering centralised generation to remote areas is no longer economically feasible. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In 2013, China witnessed yet another year of impressive wind energy capacity addition. While the total capacity added was off the peak levels seen a couple of years ago, the Asian giant still managed to add 45% of all the wind energy capacity added in 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Kenya’s transition to a green economy could produce major economic benefits – equivalent to an estimated $45 billion by 2030 – as well as greater food security, a cleaner environment and higher productivity of natural resources. [Environmental Expert]

¶   Sony will form a joint venture with Hydro-Quebec to research and develop a large-scale energy storage system combining their know-how in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The new company, to be based in Varenne, Quebec, will be formed in June. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   Tata Power, one of India’s largest private power companies, plans to increase its renewable energy capacity by about 71% to cut carbon emissions and reduce risks from fluctuating fuel prices. The utility is adding 646.7 MW of renewable energy capacity. [Economic Times]

¶   Former Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa will establish an anti-nuclear power forum in May to promote research into renewable energy and support anti-nuclear candidates in elections, sources said Tuesday. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   ISO New England reported today that the volatile natural gas market in this region pushed wholesale electric prices up by 55% last year. We’re already seeing some of this at the retail level, but the real impact will likely be seen in our monthly bills next winter. [Boston Business Journal]

¶   A new study conducted by the SUN DAY campaign, projects that electricity generation from renewable sources will reach 16% of the total by 2018. This is 22 years sooner than that predicted by US Energy Information Administration. [Justmeans]

¶   California’s recent revisions to Title 24 put in place ambitious performance goals: all new residential buildings must be Zero Net Energy by 2020, and commercial buildings by 2030. This is likely to have ripple effects through the whole nation’s construction industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The US Army announced plans on Monday to begin construction on the Department of Defense’s largest solar array on a military installation. Groundbreaking for the 20-megawatt project will take place on April 25, with operations slated to begin late this year. [ThinkProgress]

¶   US greenhouse gas emissions fell nearly 10% from 2005 to 2012, more than halfway toward the U.S.’s 2020 target pledged at United Nations climate talks, according to the latest national emissions inventory. [Scientific American]


April 15 Energy News

April 15, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Biomass Emissions Question Arises Again” A wide variety of publications have picked up a study from an anti-biomass organization. Rebuttals are coming from a number of sources, ranging from the biomass industry itself to environmental groups. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶   Despite a rise in clean, renewable energy supplies in certain countries, and a partial shift from coal to natural gas in others, global greenhouse gas pollution continues to rise—and at an increasing pace in the most recent years. [Scientific American]

¶   A University of Delaware environmental engineer, researching areas where powerful winds called low-level jets could power tethered airborne wind turbines, estimates they have a potential for 7500 GW, about three times the world electricity demand. [The Weather Channel]

¶   Experts from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say the bad news is that a major transformation of our energy supply system is needed to avoid a dangerous increase in global temperatures, and the good news is that we have about all the technologies we need to do it. [EIN News]

World:

¶   The Platts Continental Power Index for electric prices in Germany and neighboring countries decreased to €35.06 ($48.50) per MWh in March, an 18% drop from February. Overall, the index is down by more than 39% since peaking at €50.50/MWh last November. [Triple Pundit]

¶   The largest wind project in Canada is now up and running. Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy Group announced their South Kent Wind project is fully operational. The 270 MW project has the capacity to power 100,000 homes. [Power Online]

¶   China may soon scrap its plans to construct a $5 billion solar power plant in Nevada and embark on massive renewable energy projects in Crimea, according to the Voice of Russia. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to visit Russia in October. [Dallas Blog]

¶   About 75% of New Zealand’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and the Government has pledged to raise that to 90% by 2025. But a senior executive from Citigroup told a conference audience the percentage could be greater. [Radio New Zealand]

¶   Wales’ First Minister officially opened the country’s first purpose-built anaerobic digestion for generating power from food waste. The £6 million should process 11,000 tonnes of food waste from the local area, producing green energy and fertiliser in the process. [Business Green]

¶   Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power has reportedly decided to give biomass and bagasse-fired power projects fiscal benefits that are available to independent power producers. [Business Recorder]

¶   Articles in the Daily Mail, Sun and Sunday Times focus on comments in the IPCC reports Summary for Policy Makers and by an IPCC spokesperson on the role natural gas could play in the world’s emissions-reduction efforts, saying shale gas could help wean us off coal. [Carbon Brief]

¶   The Czech state-run power utility says it has canceled a tender to build two more nuclear reactors because falling electricity prices have made the multi-billion dollar project less feasible. Westinghouse and a Russian consortium were bidding to build the reactors. [Utility Products]

US:

¶   First Wind and Hawaiian Electric Company have announced that a request has been filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to provide energy to the Oahu grid from a planned 20 MW AC solar photovoltaic energy facility near Mililani, Oahu. [Utility Products]

¶   Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz issued his statement on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group report on climate change mitigation, in which he said the report makes the need clear, and that the US is committed to doing its part. (Full text) [PennEnergy]

¶   Babcock & Wilcox has announcing plans to restructure its mPower Small Modular Reactor program to focus on technology development. They still believe in the program, but it is hard to finance because of a lack of investors. [Utility Products]

 


April 14 Energy News

April 14, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “UN: Time Is Running Out for Climate-Change Action” A worldwide push over the next 15 years is the only way to avoid the disastrous effects of climate change, experts appointed by the UN said Sunday. [TIME]

¶   “Time to think big and turn to renewable energy” Here’s what we know so far from the IPCC report: we are in the era of man-made climate change. The risks are increasing and we are not doing nearly enough to manage them. Nevertheless, a different pathway is possible. [Herald Scotland]

Science and Technology:

¶   A Toronto company has yet another way to store energy. Off-peak energy can be used to compress air into huge balloons in deep water. When demand is high, you turn a valve on land and the compressed air rushes out through a hose, powering an electricity generator. [Windsor Star]

World:

¶   Independent power producers (IPPs) using renewable energy had created about 14 000 jobs in South Africa over the past three years, Energy Minister Ben Martins said on Friday. IPPs either own and or operate facilities that generate electric power, typically to sell. [Independent Online]

¶   Negotiations between London and Dublin over cross-border trading of onshore wind power have failed, according to the Irish Energy Minister. The breakdown leaves gigawatt-scale ambitions of various organizations unlikely to progress before 2020, if at all. [reNews]

¶   Some reports have suggested Germany is slamming on the brakes to prevent renewable energy further pushing up prices. In fact, with these new reforms, the government’s main priority seems to be protecting big business while continuing to roll out renewables. [Business Spectator]

¶   Unless Australia quadruples its use of low carbon energy by 2050 agriculture, coastal areas and their tourism industries and trade will be jeopardized, according to Australian National University’s Dr Frank Jotzo. [Yahoo!7 News]

¶   There is enough uranium available on the planet to keep the world’s nuclear industry going for as long as it is needed. But it will grow steadily more expensive to extract, because the quality of the ore is getting poorer, according to new research. [eco-business.com]

US:

¶   Solar power was once derided as a pipe dream and many industry players have floundered, but while the use in this renewable energy remains tiny compared with fossil fuels, it may be poised to completely reshape the energy market. [CNBC.com]

¶   Delaware Technical Community College is home to the state’s largest combined use of carport, rooftop, and ground mount arrays in a solar installation. Standard Solar Inc. installed the 800 kW solar system at the college’s four locations. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   The United States DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has warned that failing to renew the production tax credit could cause growth in the wind sector to fall from 8.7 GW per year in 2008-2012 to between 3 GW and 5 GW per year. [Tax-news.com]


April 13 Energy News

April 13, 2014

The IPCC Report:

¶   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released today. It says there must be a “massive shift” to renewable energy, and the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels. [BBC News]

¶    The IPCC report says greenhouse gases need to be cut 70% before 2050 to control climate change, and the job will become harder and more expensive unless the transformation is made within 15 years. [Daily Mail]

¶   The IPCC report says catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards. It concludes the transformation to a world of clean energy, ditching dirty fossil fuels, is eminently affordable. [Business Green]

Opinion:

¶   “Fossil Fuel Industry’s Tired Battle Against Clean Energy Is Also A Losing One” The assault on successful renewable energy legislation continues, long after the facts have proven that state renewable policies deliver clean, affordable, and reliable energy solutions. [Forbes]

World:

¶   Data from the Global Wind Energy Council show that 35,000 MW of new generating capacity was added worldwide in 2013, down from 45,000 MW in 2012. Now Windpower is poised for a comeback. Currently, 7000 MW is under construction in Texas alone. [CleanTechnica]

¶   David Cameron’s commitment to the green agenda will come under the fiercest scrutiny yet this week when top climate-change experts will warn that only greater use of renewable energy – including wind farms – can prevent a global catastrophe. [The Guardian]

¶   The basic energy plan approved by the Japanese Cabinet on Friday did not present numerical targets on the future proportions of electricity sources such as nuclear power and renewable energy, while stipulating a policy to reactivate idle nuclear reactors. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest. [Huffington Post]

¶   Apple has acquired a hydroelectric project near the company’s new data center in Prineville, Oregon. Data centers use lots of electricity to power thousands of computers that hold digital information. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   The growth of US wind energy, though 43% cheaper to produce now than four years ago, slowed down in 2013. It added a record 13,131 MW of power in 2012, but that fell 92% to only 1,087 MW last year — the lowest level since 2004. [The Sheboygan Press]

¶   Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of electricity generated from wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s annual report. More than 10.8 million MWh of electricity was generated by wind in Oklahoma, enough for about one million homes. [Enid News & Eagle]

¶   Despite strong bi-partisan support, Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) vetoed a bill on Friday designed to fund a statewide solar energy program, calling the estimated 5-cent per month tax increase on power bills “regressive.” [Raw Story]

¶   More than 7,000 MW of new wind turbines are scheduled to be built in Texas by the end of next year, potentially increasing Texas’ wind power capacity by almost 60%. The amount being installed is greater than any other state already has in place. [Dallas Morning News]


April 12 Energy News

April 12, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Are We Halfway to Market Dominance for Solar?” Electricity output from solar PVs is approaching 1% of total global electricity production, according to the IEA. That may not seem like much, but that 1% is actually halfway to the goal of market dominance. [Greentech Media]

Science and Technology:

¶   In Europe, there are over 13,800 biogas plants pumping out 7.4 GW of energy. The market is expected to double there by 2020. Biogas is spreading rapidly in the US, used at 1500 wastewater treatment plants and about 200 at dairy and pig farms. [SustainableBusiness.com]

World:

¶   Eminent bishop and Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu has called on businesses to cut ties with the fossil fuels industry, in the same way as they did with South African companies during apartheid. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   A radical shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy would slow world economic growth by only a tiny fraction every year, a new draft U.N. report on tackling global warming said on Friday. [The Japan Times]

¶   The IPCC report says clean energy will have to dominate world energy supplies by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change. Right now, Over half a trillion dollars a year are spent subsidising fossil fuels – six times more than spent supporting renewable energy. [The Guardian]

¶   When given the choice, 62% of UK residents polled said they would rather have a wind farm in their local council area than a fracking site, with just 19% preferring to have fracking nearby. [Smallholder]

¶   In the UK, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has taken personal control over blocking unpopular renewable energy projects until the election, as the war over wind farms intensifies. [Western Morning News]

¶   Russian President Putin threatened the “extreme measure” of cutting off Russian gas for Ukraine unless paid for in advance. In a stark letter to 18 world leaders, Mr Putin said that, in such a “critical situation”, gas deliveries to the European Union could also be jeopardized. [Canada Free Press]

¶   A UK community solar project launched in March in Plymouth has revealed it has raised £400,000 in just five weeks, meaning it can go ahead with plans to install free solar panels on schools and community buildings. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   The growth in projects in some countries, notably China, Russia and India, does not offset the fact that many more nuclear power stations will reach retirement age over the next 15-20 years than will be constructed. [HotnHitNews]

¶   US nuclear power giant Westinghouse Electric, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba, said Friday it has extended its contract to supply fuel to Ukraine’s nuclear power plants through 2020. Westinghouse Electric said the contract, originally signed in 2008. [Kyiv Post]

US:

¶   Maryland’s Republican candidates for governor say fracking for natural gas in Maryland is a better energy source than alternative methods such as wind or solar. Democratic candidates are wary of fracking and want to go with more renewable energy. [Patch.com]

¶   Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law a bill providing a $5 million tax credit to a company that installs at least $300 million in renewable power capacity to supply its own plant. Conservative Republicans say the bill is unfairly tailored to benefit Apple. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   Ikea announced it will purchase its first wind farm in the US – a 98 MW project about 100 miles south of Chicago. It will be Ikea’s single biggest renewable energy project to date. Ikea’s goal is to produce as much as it consumes by 2020. Other companies are doing the same. [Energy and Capital]

¶   Environment New York released a new report, “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution,” ranking New York City number 8 of major cities for the amount of solar power installed. [Long Island Exchange]


April 11 Energy News

April 11, 2014

World:

¶   The Japanese government has approved an energy plan that backs the use of nuclear power, despite public anxiety after the Fukushima disaster. The plan reverses an earlier decision to phase out nuclear power by a previous government. [BBC News]

¶   When nuclear reactors went offline after the Fukushima Disaster, Japan managed to replace half the missing capacity through energy efficiency and conservation measures that still endure, three years later. [ThinkProgress]

¶   The UK Conservative manifesto will be putting focus on solar and offshore wind as it blocks any further spread of turbines on land. The Royal Academy of Engineering has warned government that this will lead to an increase in household energy bills. [H&V News]

¶   Tynwald [The Manx legislature] voted overwhelmingly for a strategy on offshore energy production that could see wind farms developed in Manx territorial waters. The Council of Ministers’ report suggests that each wind farm could earn government £5 million a year. [Isle of Man Today]

¶   The future for small-scale renewable power projects has been thrown into doubt by changes to European state aid rules, industry leaders have claimed. The European Commission changed its guidance on state aid for renewable energy. [Building.co.uk]

¶   Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a landmark 2006 study on climate change, says his conclusion that global output could dive 5% to 20% without action to curb greenhouse gases was an underestimate. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   A large renewable energy tidal array could be built off Alderney by 2020. OpenHydro and Alderney Renewable Energy have announced a joint venture to develop a 300 MW array, made up of 150 turbines. The array would produce power more than 150,000 homes. [BBC News]

¶   The UK has successfully lobbied to have an article containing the phrase, “the measure should in principle not reward investments in generation from fossil fuel plants,” removed from the new EU state aid guidelines. [Solar Power Portal]

US:

¶   These days, Ikea is assembling more than just furniture. About 150 miles south of Chicago, in Vermilion County, the home goods giant is building a wind farm large enough to ensure that its stores will never have to buy power again. [Chicago Tribune]

¶   A study released by the nonprofit Environment California Research & Policy Center ranked more than 50 U.S. cities according to their solar energy capabilities. San Diego ranked No. 2, overshadowed by celebrity neighbor Los Angeles. [U-T San Diego]

¶   Kansas moved up to No. 8 among states in the amount of installed wind energy capacity and was No. 6 in the total amount of electricity generated by wind in 2013. Only Iowa and South Dakota produced higher percentages of their power from wind energy than Kansas. [Kansas City Star]

¶   Kentucky Governor Beshear announced funding for an environmentally-friendly methane gas recovery system in the city of Glasgow that will also save taxpayer dollars. The new system will capture gas from the Glasgow Regional Landfill and turn it into electricity. [RenewablesBiz]


April 10 Energy News

April 10, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Scientists said on Wednesday they have developed a new way to make liquid ethanol efficiently without using corn or other crops needed in the conventional method for producing the biofuel. Instead, they use carbon monoxide. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶   Sustainable Innovations, LLC of East Hartford, Connecticut announced an advance for its hydrogen separation and compression systems. Sustainable Innovations’ system supports hydrogen generating systems for megawatt scale power-to-gas applications. [PR Web]

¶   The team working on Solar Impulse 2, a completely solar-powered aircraft, intend to have it take off from the Persian Gulf and make its way to India, as its starts on a trip around the world. The only time it will touch down would be to switch pilots. [Ubergizmo]

World:

¶   Europe is stitching together a patchwork of measures that could reduce its natural gas imports from Russia by over a quarter by the end of the decade as a result of the Ukraine crisis, halting Moscow’s tightening grip over the region’s energy. [Investing.com]

¶   In Romania, renewable capacity of 4,852 MW in end-February 2014, surpassing the 2020 goal. Wind projects reached 2,792 MW, PVs were at 1,149 MW, micro hydro was 542 MW, and biomass-based projects had a capacity of 99 MW. [ACTmedia]

¶   The European Commission is curbing subsidies for renewable energies to reduce drive electricity prices. They laid out stricter rules on the extent to which member states may support the generation of power from renewable sources such as solar, wind or biomass. [Utility Products]

¶   The UK may not buy electricity from an independent Scottish state if imports from alternative markets are cheaper, the UK government has warned, putting further pressure on Scotland five months before its independence vote. [www.worldbulletin.net]

¶   The Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute is opening three years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered catastrophic meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit east Japan in March 2011. [The Japan Daily Press]

¶   Marketwired Martifer Solar, successfully connected 78.4 MWp to the UK grid before the March 31st 1.6 Renewable Obligation Certificate deadline. Construction was completed in record time, only nine weeks, under the UK’s worst winter rainfall in 250 years. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   An investigation of possible price collusion by British energy suppliers is likely to undermine the market framework that has helped make them more valuable than their European rivals. [Business Recorder]

¶   Emissions from transportation may rise at the fastest rate of all major sources through 2050, the United Nations will say in a report due April 13. Heat-trapping gases from vehicles may surge 71 percent from 2010 levels, mainly from emerging economies. [Businessweek]

US:

¶   EPA administrator Gina McCarthy went to lengths to emphasize the fact that states will have flexibility when deciding on how to implement new greenhouse gas regulations on existing power plants under new rules expected to be unveiled in June. [OilPrice.com]

¶   Tucson Electric Power plans on reducing its coal-fired by 492 MW, or 32%, over the next five years, the company announced in its 2014 Integrated Resource Plan. The plan outlines how the company intends to meet energy demand requirements through 2028. [PennEnergy]

¶   Hanwha Q CELLS celebrated the completion of the first utility scale solar project constructed on an active EPA Superfund site. The 10.86 MW Maywood Solar Farm is on 43 acres of the Reilly Tar & Chemical Superfund site in Indianapolis. [Inside Indiana Business]

¶   Entergy is asking federal regulators for permission to end off-site emergency planning 16 months after the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shuts down. NRC staffers are evaluating Entergy’s request. [vtdigger.org]

¶   Disagreements between Entergy Nuclear and the Agency of Natural Resources surfaced this week in an exchange of letters over the proposed draft permit for Vermont Yankee’s continuing thermal discharge into the Connecticut River. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]


April 9 Energy News

April 9, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “What Made Vermont’s Net Metering Expansion Process So Unique?” Among other things, Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest utility (which is investor-owned) not only embraced but actively championed expanding the state’s net metering program. [Greentech Media]

Science and Technology:

¶   Oregon State University chemists have found that cellulose — the most abundant organic polymer on Earth and a key component of trees — can be heated in a furnace in the presence of ammonia, and turned into the building blocks for supercapacitors. [Science Daily]

¶   Dan Arvizu, the head of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US, the world’s largest renewable energy research facility, has some simple points to make when he says that the energy system of today is unsustainable. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Unilever, Shell, BT, and EDF Energy are among 70 leading companies today calling on governments across the globe to step up efforts to tackle climate change. The companies say the world needs a “rapid and focused response” to the threat of rising global carbon emissions. [The Guardian]

¶   India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has increased its faith in solar PV technology at the expense of concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. As a result, it has increased its target for installed solar PV capacity 30% in FY 2014-15 while slashing its CSP target 90%. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The UK government launched its long-awaited domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, in a bid to stimulate investment in new green technologies such as biomass boilers, solar thermal panels, and heat pumps. [Business Green]

¶   The German government approved a reform of their energy transformation to reduce subsidies for renewables and stem rising electricity prices. The reform plan is still designed to meet 80% of its energy needs with renewables by 2050. [The Local.de]

¶   Emissions from transportation may rise at the fastest rate of all major sources through 2050, the United Nations will say in a report due April 13, increasing up to 71% from 2010 levels, according to a leaked draft of an upcoming IPCC report. [eco-business.com]

¶   Tony Abbott’s handpicked head of the panel reviewing Australia’s renewable energy target, the self-avowed climate “sceptic” Dick Warburton, is no fan of renewable energy and has insisted that nuclear energy was the only alternative to fossil fuel generation. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Poland’s government approved a long-awaited draft law on Tuesday that lays out new long-term subsidies for renewable energy, aiming to cut costs to consumers as well as help the coal-reliant country meet EU climate targets. [Scientific American]

¶   Renewable energy installations are forecast to rise 37 percent in the next two years, driven by a drop in the cost of wind and solar power that cut the value of investment, according to Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Businessweek]

US:

¶   As the fracking boom continues unabated across the U.S., scientists, engineers, and government experts are increasingly focusing on the complex task of identifying the sources of these methane leaks and devising methods to stop them. [Resilience]

¶   Ameresco, Inc. announced that its biomass cogeneration facility in Aiken, South Carolina is utilizing storm-damaged timber as a result of the major ice storm which impacted the U.S. southern region during February 11-13, 2014. [AZoCleantech]

¶   The role of utilities is being questioned as technology changes. Dominion Virginia Power is establishing microgrids, which can be separated and provide power to communities without any support from the bulk power grid, as pilot projects. [Platts]

¶   Of the decline in investment in renewable power capacity, 80% resulted from falling cost of renewable energy technology, primarily solar panels. The remaining 20% a drop in actual construction activity, thanks largely to the uncertain fate of government subsidies. [Mother Jones]

¶   The company that owns the wind farm near the Balsams is open to reducing the buffer zone between its wind turbines and the slopes, a key to a developer’s plan to greatly expand the size of the ski resort. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶   UK renewable energy supplier Good Energy has revealed 2013 saw its customer base increase by 32% and its pre-tax profits more than double to £3.3 million in 2013, as a result of dissatisfied ‘big six’ utility customers switching. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]


April 8 Energy News

April 8, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Ukraine crisis underscores need for renewables push” At the heart of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is the question of energy independence and energy security. Energy will continue to dominate our geopolitical agenda unless the United States and its allies decide to act. [CNN]

¶   “Is US wind energy already as cheap as shale gas?” As the US gears up for another lengthy debate about future subsidies for wind power, two new reports have highlighted the cost competitiveness of the green energy source compared to natural gas. [Business Green]

Science and Technology:

¶   A recent study from NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory specifically addresses the value of demand response [adjusting customer demand during peak times] by putting demand response resources into a commercial production cost model. [Energy Collective]

¶   Most scenarios that meet the 2°C global warming target require “tripling to nearly quadrupling” the share of energy from renewable and nuclear sources and capture and storage of emissions from fossil fuel plants, according to a leaked draft of an upcoming IPCC report. [Rappler]

World:

¶   Renewables, excluding hydropower, accounted for 8.5% of global electricity generation, up from 7.8% in 2012, according to research by the United Nations’ Environment Programme and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶   Global investments in renewable energy slumped 14% last year, with China pouring more money into the sector than Europe for the first time on record. Investments in non-hydro renewables fell $35.1 billion to $214.4 billion in 2013, according to a report from the UN. [Rappler]

¶   Almost half of new electricity generation is now renewable, and the costs of wind and solar power are falling sharply. It “should give governments confidence to forge a robust climate agreement” next year, says the director of the United Nations Environment Program. [New Scientist]

¶   Enel Green Power SpA, the clean energy company majority owned by Italy’s largest utility, sees Africa as “the next big place” for renewables as it seeks to expand in markets with faster growth in power demand. [Bloomberg]

¶   Bord na Mona will turn waste into 5.6 MW of renewable power at its new state of the art landfill-gas plant in Drehid, Co Kildare. The methane captured will be used to produce sufficient power for 8500 homes. [Irish Independent]

¶   First Solar, the company building the southern hemisphere’s biggest solar plant, said it was reconsidering its future investment plans for Australia, citing increased policy uncertainty. About $90 million to $110 million worth of projects have been put on hold. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   WindMW GmbH has completed the $1.7 billion Meerwind Süd │Ost wind farm in the German North Sea on schedule in 18 months. Meerwind is comprised of 80 Siemens SWT-3.6 120 wind turbines, which are expected to help power an estimated 360,000 homes. [PennEnergy]

¶   According to GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook, Q2 2014, Chile installed 153 megawatts of utility-scale PV in the first quarter of this year. That’s more than three times the amount that any Latin American country has ever before installed in a single quarter. [Greentech Media]

US:

¶   A Norwegian company, Scatec Solar, will build an 80 MW PV plant in Utah. The Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park will generate some 210 GWh of electricity per year, which will be fed into the grid under a 20-year power purchase agreement with PacifiCorp. [pv magazine]

¶   Proposed state legislation that would bring large amounts of hydropower to Massachusetts from Canada could crash the regional power market and kill off other needed energy-generating resources, according to some environmental advocates. [Boston Globe]

¶   American Electric Power is revising coal’s projected share of the company’s nearly 38,000 MW generation capacity in 2020 to 51%, displacing natural gas capacity. Volatile gas prices might be the reason, though none was explicitly given. [Platts]

¶   Kansas lawmakers passed a compromise plan that would preserve net metering in the state, handing another defeat to ALEC, a conservative group seeking to repeal the state’s renewable energy laws. [Midwest Energy News]


April 7 Energy News

April 7, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Exxon’s Climate Response ‘Consummate Arrogance’” After ExxonMobil’s uncharacteristically public response to shareholder requests for information about the company’s climate change mitigation efforts, climate activist Bill McKibben denounced its report as arrogant provocations. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Nations are running out of time to cut their use of fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, according to a draft UN study to be approved this week. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8° since 1900 and are set to go past 2° in coming decades. [Business Spectator]

¶   Scottish ministers have accused Westminster of failing to guarantee the UK’s future energy needs, warning of the “highest blackout risk in a generation”. They say the UK government must prioritize supply security as the gap between electricity supply and demand tightens. [Evening Telegraph]

¶   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government stopped short of setting goals for renewable energy in the final version of a draft plan that reinforces atomic power’s role in Japan’s energy future, calling it a vital source of generation. [Bloomberg]

¶   The UN will this week bend to intense pressure from Berlin and relax planned curbs on subsidies for clean energy, clearing the way for the German government to pass a crucial renewables law. [Financial Times]

¶   Israel’s power grid will receive a boost this week, as 11 new solar power plants go online in the Negev and Arava. Arava Power’s six new fields will generate a total of approximately 36 MW worth of electricity, while the five belonging to EDF-EN will produce 32 MW. [Jerusalem Post]

¶   The new solar strategy from the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change envisions building a vast distributed network of “solar hubs” on buildings and brownfield sites. Unfortunately, it additionally envisions building new nuclear power plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The German energy industry association, BDEW, says that 43% or 32 of the power plants planned for construction in Germany may never come to fruition, due to lack of economic viability caused by competition from renewables and lack of clarity on future markets. [Power Engineering International]

US:

¶   In many parts of the U.S., wind energy is now the cheapest form of electricity generation – cheaper than natural gas and even coal, NextEra chief financial office Moray P. Dewhurst recently stated on an earnings call. [Triple Pundit]

¶   The $14 billion wind industry, the world’s second-largest buyer of wind turbines, is reeling from a double blow – cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing and the termination of federal subsidies that made wind the most competitive renewable energy source in the US. [Bloomberg]


April 6 Energy News

April 6, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Solar Power To Surge in 2014?” t looks as though solar power may be seeing an unprecedented surge in 2014, only 175 years after the photovoltaic effect was first identified. Well, better late than never, right? [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶   Two studies released by the Alberta government separately show that the incidence of cancer downstream of tar sands development is higher than expected and that air emissions from a certain type of drilling tar sands operation is likely causing health problems. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Reuters reported that the full start-up of Swedish utility Vattenfall’s new German coal-fired power station at Moorburg, near Hamburg has been postponed after small cracks were found near some tube welding seams in a part of the plant’s two units. [SteelGuru]

¶   The total grid-connected solar capacity, commissioned under the National Solar Mission, crossed the 2,500-MW mark and stood at 2,632 MW as on March 31, 2014. Of the total, a little over a third of capacity was commissioned in Gujarat. [The Hindu]

¶   The UK’s Conservative party plans to pledge in its manifesto for next year’s general election that it will introduce a moratorium on future onshore wind farms from 2020 on the grounds that they have now become “self-defeating.” They will intensify building offshore wind farms. [Greenwise Business]

¶   France’s wind energy sector has set ambitious goals: the country plans to install 19,000 MW of onshore wind farms and 6,000 MW in offshore farms by 2020. At the current rate of installation, the country has a slim chance of reaching the goal, but there is hope. [Global Voices Online]

¶   The current Crimean crisis in Ukraine has resulted in Finns having second thoughts about the construction of a nuclear power plant with Russian technology. In a poll, only a third of the respondents said permission to build a nuclear power with a Russian reactor should be accepted. [Helsinki Times]

US:

¶   The Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Act, S. 2189, introduced three Democratic senators, would improve the efficiency of our homes, workplaces, and industry by reinstating and improving important efficiency tax incentives. [Energy Collective]

¶   Florida Power & Light has announced a new solar power option that may soon be available to its customers in The Sunshine State. The proposal is for a voluntary, community-based, solar partnership pilot, under which FPL will install solar-powered facilities in Florida communities. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Despite Nebraska’s strong potential for wind, the state has had difficulty getting major wind development because of a lack of significant tax incentives and the public power structure with a mandate for low-cost energy. Some lawmakers are seeking to change that. [Sioux City Journal]

¶   Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the US will be required to undertake extensive analyses of their structures and components because they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake revised estimates say they might face. [Indiana Gazette]


April 5 Energy News

April 5, 2014

Opinion:

¶   Three major atomic accidents in 35 years are forcing the world’s nuclear industry to stop imagining it can prevent more catastrophes and to focus instead on how to contain them. When the next nuclear accident occurs, we to need to know how to limit damage. [Bloomberg]

Science and Technology:

¶   Energy efficiency contributed 63 exajoules (EJ) of avoided energy use in 2010 – that’s larger than the supply of oil (43 EJ), electricity or natural gas (22 EJ each), said a first- ever “Energy Efficiency Market report.” [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Norway may seem like an odd place for electric cars to thrive, but the 1,493 Tesla Model S new registrations last month set a new single-model sales record. That’s more than sales of the two next-best selling models, the Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Leaf, combined. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A London-based firm is using coffee waste from cappuccinos and lattes to generate clean energy. Beanergi collects waste from coffee shops in the capital and processes it in its facility, which can use 50,000 tonnes per year, producing 260 GWh of electricity. [Energy Live News]

¶   For UK businesses, rooftops are about to become solar energy goldmines. At least, that’s the hope of ministers who today brought out the Government’s first ever solar strategy with plans to slap solar panels on thousands of government buildings, factories and schools. [Energy Live News]

US:

¶   The White House recently released its long-awaited Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. Promised in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan last June, the methane strategy is a big step in the right direction. [Energy Collective]

¶   NAACP leaders Thursday called for policies promoting renewable energy and efficiency programs. Most African-Americans live near coal-fired power plants and are disproportionately affected by them, with both health and wealth suffering. [Lake Expo]

¶   Wind power in the US is putting a significant dent in emissions, according to a forthcoming report from the American Wind Energy Association. Wind power avoided 95.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, and produced a  4.4% cut to power sector emissions. [Huffington Post]

¶   US clean energy continues to be hurt by policy uncertainty, with 2013 investment down 9% from 2012 to $36.7 billion, according to a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts. It finds that steep declines in wind installation overshadowed a record annual deployment of 4.4 GW of solar. [Renew Grid]

¶   Americans used more energy in 2013, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Americans’ carbon dioxide emissions increased to 5,390 million metric tons, the first annual increase since 2010. [Daily Fusion]

¶   Boeing and NRG Energy have partnered to build a solar plant in Guam designed to deliver up to 25 MW of locally-based renewable energy. The Guam Power Authority will acquire power from the facility over 25 years to supply electricity to as many as 10,000 households. [ExecutiveBiz]


April 4 Energy News

April 4, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   While energy storage is a small fraction of total power generation capacity, promising examples suggest that distributed energy storage could change the electricity system during the next decade as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The UN IPCC report said that during the next 100 years, bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration could pull 125 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the sky, while biochar energy systems could draw down 130 billion tonnes. There were 40 billion tonnes emitted in 2013. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

World:

¶    The UN’s climate chief called on the oil and gas industry on Thursday to make a drastic shift to a clean, low-carbon future or risk having to leave three-quarters of fossil fuel reserves in the ground. She urged an “urgent transformation” to greener production. [gulfnews.com]

¶   The European Commission appears to have shelved plans to force mature renewable energy technologies, such as solar and onshore wind, to compete for subsidies. The move raises fresh questions over the UK’s case for launching so-called technology neutral auctions. [Business Green]

¶   A committee set up by India’s Department of Telecommunications has recommended that all telecom sites should use renewable energy technology units to run the network. The units would help maintain service quality without depending on the external power grid or diesel. [Hindu Business Line]

¶   Investment in the UK wind industry surged by almost 50% to £3.5 billion in 2013, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The document “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” also states that investment in all clean energy technologies grew by 13% to £7.5 billion. [reNews]

US:

¶   A report released by Exxon Mobil the same day about how greenhouse gas emissions and climate change factor into its business model found that climate change, and specifically global climate policies, are “highly unlikely” to stop it from selling fossil fuels for decades to come. [Resilience]

¶   At the same time ERCOT saw a new record set for Texas, wind power accounted for more than 7,200 megawatts of electricity generated on March 18 for the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission organization that covers Oklahoma and parts of eight other states. [NewsOK.com]

¶   The Vermont Supreme Court reversed a ruling made by the Public Service Board that classified two potential local solar projects as being one in the same for the purposes of an energy subsidy program. [Bennington Banner]

¶   A private company wants turn Sandy, Utah into America’s first total recycling city, using recycled garbage turned to generate methane gas, which would be used to generate power,  by building a garbage collection and recycling plant-based on innovative technology. [fox13now.com]

¶   Xcel Energy is proposing plan that would enable customers to get the equivalent all over their power from solar energy by purchasing it by subscription. The program, Solar Connect, would purchase 50 MW of electricity, enough for up to 14,000 homes, from a large-scale solar plant. [The Denver Post]

¶   Renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) were included with bipartisan support, as the Senate Finance Committee reported out a tax extenders package whose passage is critically important to the wind energy industry. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   For the second year, an annual Pew Charitable Trusts report, “ Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? ”, shows that China is the world leader in clean energy investment, with $54 billion in investments in renewables in 2013, well above total U.S. investment of $36.7 billion. [Kitsap Sun]

¶   More than 50 experts and officials met in Putney,Vermont to begin to plan a national conference for regions facing nuclear plant closings. Though many plants are likely to close soon, there is not much information on how host regions can protect their interests when they do. [Vermont Public Radio]


April 3 Energy News

April 3, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its second of four planned reports examining the state of climate science. This one summarizes what the scientific literature says about “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” [Energy Collective]

¶   The IPCC report is the definitive scientific consensus on the damages of climate change. The findings of this new report are clear: damages from climate change have already been set in motion and major impacts will hit humanity if we fail to act aggressively. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Canada received $6.5 billion in clean energy investments in 2013, advancing the country to seventh from 12th in the G-20 rankings, according to research released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. [Greentech Media]

¶   GE and PowerStream Inc., an energy portfolio company, have launched their first joint microgrid demonstration project in Ontario. The project will demonstrate generation and distribution of renewable energy for safe, sustainable and reliable energy resources. [ElectricNet]

¶   State and federal politicians have renegotiated planned reforms to Germany’s Renewable Energy Act at a summit in Berlin. They agreed to drop proposed limits on the country’s wind power facilities. [Deutsche Welle]

¶   NEC Corporation today announced the commissioning of an energy storage system for Enel Distribuzione, Italy’s largest distribution system operator. The system can store 2 MWh of renewable power for release into the grid as required. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   A landmark biomass-to-energy plant is being built near Stroevo, in Plovdiv province. The 5 MW Karlovo plant will use three of GE’s fuel-flexible Jenbacher engines, powered by syngas derived from straw and wood chips and will produce enough electric power for 2,000 homes. [Utility Products]

¶   The people of Angus and Perthshire will be offered the chance to own a wind turbine, thanks to a new local renewable energy cooperative. The Glen Isla project will be the second wholly cooperatively-owned wind turbine development in Scotland. [The Courier]

¶   Greenpeace said efforts by the Japanese government should serve as a model for the fight against climate change. They said they were concerned by Tokyo’s efforts to reintroduce nuclear power, but some of the renewable and clean-energy momentum is irreversible. [UPI.com]

US:

¶   In its report to shareholders on stranded carbon asset risk, ExxonMobil said there is limited basis for concern. Shareholder advocates, which withdrew a shareholder resolution when ExxonMobil agreed to release the report, were disappointed with aspects of the response. [Investorideas.com]

¶   American-made wind power has long enjoyed popular support across the country. There’s even evidence to suggest that the more wind power there is in a state, the more support wind power receives. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Noting that electricity rates from Hawaii Electric Light Co. are consistently more than 37¢ per kWh despite nearly half of the island’s power being renewable, Parker Ranch announced it has created a new subsidiary aimed at providing electricity on its own microgrid. [Big Island Now]

¶   The Obama administration is defiantly reviving a green-technology loan program that became a magnet for GOP political attacks. Energy Secretary Moniz has been a staunch defender of federal green-tech loan programs. [National Journal]

¶   In a new study done by Greenpeace,  Apple Came in first place with 100% clean energy being used, followed by Yahoo with 59%, Facebook with 49% and then Google with 48% clean energy being used. [Android Headlines - Android News]

¶   Invenergy Wind has announced the completion of construction and the start of commercial operations of its 94 MW Orangeville wind power farm in Wyoming County, New York. The power will be sold into the wholesale markets of the New York Independent System Operator. [PennEnergy]

¶   Researchers say they have found that creating a bioenergy grid with small biomass power plants could benefit people in rural areas of the country as well as provide relief to an overworked national power grid. [Midwest Producer]


April 2 Energy News

April 2, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Which Costs More? Transmission Lines for 10x More Renewable Energy, or Pipelines for 2x More Natural Gas” Two recent reports show long-distance gas pipeline infrastructure will cost more than the transmission investment needed for achieving 80% renewable electricity. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Science and Technology:

¶   Researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering have improved the performance and capacity of lithium batteries by developing better-performing, cheaper materials for use in anodes and cathodes (negative and positive electrodes, respectively). [Science Daily]

World:

¶   New research from the Center for Economics and Business Research and RenewableUK has found what many had already deciphered, that the presence of wind farms has “no significant effect” on the price of houses within 5 kilometers of wind turbines. [CleanTechnica]

¶   New figured published by the UK DECC have shown that renewable energy is becoming more important for national energy production, with wind energy generation up 40% and coal and gas production and generation both decreasing over the 2013 period when compared to 2012. [CleanTechnica]

¶   West Lindsey District Council has granted planning permission for a 50 MW solar park on the site of a former RAF base in Lincolnshire. When completed, the project is anticipated to share the title of the largest solar farm development in the UK. [Solar Power Portal]

¶   Germany’s regional states succeeded in watering down the federal government’s plans for cuts in future wind energy projects in conjunction with a landmark renewable energy law reform, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and state leaders said on Tuesday. [Business Spectator]

¶   Northern Ireland’s biggest power generator plans to build a huge battery facility that can store energy produced by wind farms. AES, owner of Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations, plans to build the 100 MW facility at Kilroot. [BBC News]

¶   Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said Germany should never consider turning to fracking as a solution for its energy needs, despite the success of the technology in the USA. Her comments came ahead of an emergency energy summit. [The Local.de]

¶   Of Japan’s remaining four dozen nuclear reactors, 14 will probably restart at some point, a further 17 are uncertain and 17 will probably never be switched back on, Reuters analysis suggests. As a result, nuclear energy could remain below 10 percent of Japan’s power supply. [Bangladesh News 24 hours]

US:

¶   In a letter to the US State Department, members of Environmental Entrepreneurs call on Secretary John Kerry to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. They cite the 35 permanent jobs promised by the project, compared with 78,600 offered by clean energy last year alone. [InvestorIdeas]

¶   A credit to help the wind industry could soon be renewed, as lawmakers are expected to take it up this week. The tax breaks are part of a proposal released by Sen. Wyden (D-Oregon), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Hatch (R-Utah). [DesMoinesRegister.com]

¶   Free Flow Power, a Boston-based renewable energy company, would like to build 10 small hydropower stations near existing locks and dams on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers near Pittsburg. The project would power 65,000 homes. [Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

¶   In a major new analysis released last week, Citigroup says the big decision-makers within the US power industry are focused on securing low-cost power, fuel diversity and stable cash flows, and this is drawing them to the increasingly attractive economics of solar and wind. [Greentech Media]

¶   Vestas announced Tuesday that EDF Renewable Energy ordered 97 of their V100-2.0 MW turbines for wind farms to be built in Texas. The turbines will be capable of generating up to 194 MW of power, or enough to support the electricity demands of 58,200 homes. [Denver Business Journal]

¶   In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, states in the Northeast have been putting the weight of government policy and budgets behind microgrids, self-sustaining islands of electric power to keep critical services running in the midst of broader grid blackouts. [Greentech Media]

¶   Italian developer Enel Green Power is adding a 17 MW concentrating solar plant to the Stillwater geothermal-PV hybrid plant in Nevada. The parabolic trough system will be added to the 26 MW PV array and 7 MW geothermal system already in place. [reNews]


April 1 Energy News

April 1, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Heads in the Sand: Koch Brothers Push States to Avoid Carbon Rules” ALEC wants to preempt EPA carbon pollution standards at the state level, despite analyses showing they will help protect the climate and yield up to $60 billion in avoided damages in 2020. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Science and Technology:

¶   Renewable energy has opened up possibilities for atmospheric satellites. The latest contender is StratoBus. Operating at an altitude of about 20 kilometres, the solar-powered StratoBus will be able to carry payloads up to 200 kg. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶   Mitsubishi and Vestas formally established  a 50:50 joint venture responsible for the design, further development, procurement, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and service of the next-generation V164 8 MW offshore wind turbine. [reNews]

¶   First Solar has said it will develop a series of diesel-PV hybrid power plants for mines in remote parts of Australia. The thin-film module manufacturer and project developer told Bloomberg that mining firms in the country are looking to cut costs as profitability has fallen. [eco-business.com]

¶   With 11,000 miles of coastline rich with energy potential and pollution that is getting worse, China is seen by many experts as an ideal location to pioneer and commercialize ocean-energy technologies. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   Petkim, Turkey’s largest petrochemical complex, has signed an agreement with French power generation and transport systems giant Alstom for the construction of a 51 MW wind power plant at an investment cost of around €55 million. [Balkans.com Business News]

¶   The UK’s Green Investment Bank yesterday unveiled its biggest pay-out since its launch with the £461 million backing for two offshore wind projects. Combined, the projects will produce enough power for 600,000 homes. [Scotsman]

¶   In an about-face, Germany’s ‘superminister’ for energy and the economy, Sigmar Gabriel, has announced that on-site power plants serving the nation’s industrial sector will not be subject to a renewable energy surcharge under a reformed EEG (Renewable Energy Act). [PennEnergy]

¶   Concentrated Solar power markets at $1.3 billion in 2013 are anticipated to reach $53.7 billion by 2020 because the systems are able to be built at utility scale and to provide 24 x 7 solar renewable energy power, according to a newly released report. [PR Web]

¶   A second Japanese nuclear operator is seeking a government bailout. Hokkaido Electric Power Co, facing a third year of financial losses, is seeking a capital infusion from a state-owned lender, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

US:

¶   The state of New Jersey is trying to flesh out details of a proposed $200 million Energy Resiliency Bank that would dole out federal funds to projects aimed at curtailing outages during extreme weather. [NJ Spotlight]

¶   Depending on energy usage, customers of California’s investor-owned electric utilities will get a climate credit with their April and October power bills. PG&E residential customers will get nearly $30 credit. The state hopes the money will be spent on efficiency. [Stockton Record]

¶   The Oklahoma City Thunder has become the first team in the NBA to commit to offset 100 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable wind power, following a recent agreement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (OG&E). [Thunder.com]

¶   Vermont’s “net metering” bill that nearly quadruples the amount of power that utilities can buy from renewable energy projects is becoming law, raising  that amount to 15% of peak load. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will sign the bill into law on April 1. [WPTZ The Champlain Valley]


March 31 Energy News

March 31, 2014

Business and Finance:

¶   “Solar’s spike tied to oil prices? Don’t bet on it” For a host of reasons, the link between solar and crude prices has begun to break down completely. The uncoupling highlights how, after years of false starts, renewables may finally be coming into their own as an investment class. [CNBC.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   Childhood developmental is significantly improved with decreased levels of exposure to air pollution in utero, according to a new study that examined the after-effects of the closure of a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang, China. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Altaeros Energie says it is set to break the world record for the highest wind turbine ever deployed. The next generation BAT (Buoyant Airborne Turbine) will be the first long-term demonstration of such a device. [Energy Matters]

¶   While research to develop commercially viable nuclear fusion has been underway for decades, advances have been slow due to the immense technological complexities involved and modest funding. That said, recent technological breakthroughs may hasten progress. [OilPrice.com]

World:

¶   The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has made two of its biggest investments to date, plowing over £460 million into two of the country’s largest offshore wind projects. The bank will take equity stakes in projects off  the coasts of Yorkshire and North Wales. [Business Green]

¶   Setouchi, a city in the western prefecture of Okayama, will be home to a solar power plant with a generating capacity of 230 MW, making it the largest facility of its kind in Japan and one of the biggest in world, the Nikkei business newspaper reported. [Latin American Herald Tribune]

¶   The President of Mexico has attended the opening ceremony of Latin-America’s largest utility-scale solar PV power plant, the 39 MW Aura Solar 1 project in the north-western Mexican state of Baja California Sur. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s impending carbon rules for existing power plants could achieve even greater reductions than previously thought — and at less cost, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council. [Triple Pundit]

¶   As Connecticut moves on several fronts to diversify its supply of energy, proposals for wind power have stalled as state lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on rules for turbine locations, shadows created by spinning blades and other details. [Bristol Press]

¶   Kit Carson Electric Cooperative produced about 9300 MWh from eight solar arrays in 2013, nearing a production limit. Under a contract with its wholesale power supplier that expires in 2040, the co-op can only produce 5% of the total energy it sells to its members. [taosnews]

¶    NRG Energy Inc. through its subsidiaries now owns and operates more than 1,200 MW of solar capacity. Through these facilities, NRG helps power nearly one million homes at full output with renewable solar energy. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   Up to 24% of all coal-fired electric power plants in the United States may shut down because of EPA regulations, according to a new “Today in Energy” report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). [DigiNews]


March 30 Energy News

March 30, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “The heat is on as energy clash looms” Anyone thinking of throwing a party over record renewable output in Scotland last week had their hopes dashed when SSE, one of Britain’s big six suppliers, scrapped plans to invest £20 billion in four major offshore projects. [Scotsman]

¶   “The £5 billion question on Scottish independence” With Scotland potentially sitting on £5 billion worth of shale gas, it’s no surprise that the upcoming independence referendum has also reignited the long controversial debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” [Quartz]

Science and Technology:

¶   Signs are increasingly pointing to the formation of an El Niño in the next few months, possibly a very strong one. When combined with the long-term global warming trend, a strong El Niño would mean 2015 is very likely to become the hottest year on record by far. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   According to Eurowind, the company behind a wind farm proposed for the Scottish Local Government Council Area of Angus, profits from a community share in the wind farm could deliver more than £1 million a year to surrounding communities. [Brechin Advertiser]

¶   An investigation of alleged corruption in the China’s Three Gorges Corporation’s bidding and tendering process has caused the company to seal all its bidding and tendering data, leading to concerns that PV projects will be deferred. [WantChinaTimes]

¶   The renewable energy potential in the Malaysian province of Sabah is projected to exceed 2,700 MW in total if fully exploited, according to Energy, Green Technology, and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Ongkili. [The Borneo Post]

¶   Nearly 10,000 solar panels are being installed on farmland in the English village of Monk Sherborne. The 6.37-hectare site was an arable field of crops but is now being transformed into a 2.8 MW solar farm, which will generate enough power for 806 homes. [Basingstoke Gazette]

US:

¶   Pacific Gas and Electric Company is celebrating its 100,000th solar installation at Habitat for Humanity project in Walnut Creek, California on Apr 27. PG&E says it is proud to have nearly 25% of all solar rooftop systems in the United States in our service territory. [Halfway To Concord]

¶   The 8-MW co-generation plant at the Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms, California will be one of the lynchpins of a computerized microgrid the base is developing to manage its energy as efficiently as possible, save taxpayer dollars and operate off grid in an emergency. [The Desert Sun]

¶   The Vermont Public Service Board on Friday said it reluctantly approved letting the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station operate through the end of this year. The board also approved a deal between Entergy and the Shumlin administration. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

 


March 29 Energy News

March 29, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “How Congressional Gridlock Stalled Wind Power’s Growth In 2013″ There was a boom in wind power up through 2012. But the boom stalled out in 2013 and flatlined in 2014, thanks to gridlock in Congress. [ThinkProgress]

Science and Technology:

¶   Climate change has already left its mark “on all continents and across the oceans”, damaging food crops, spreading disease, and melting glaciers, according to the leaked text of a blockbuster UN climate science report due out on Monday. [The Guardian]

World:

¶   The Manitoba Metis Federation was prevented from getting solar power onto the agenda of a hearing looking into alternatives to building two northern mega-dams. The Public Utility Board and Manitoba Hydro shot the idea down. [Winnipeg Free Press]

¶   A new green energy plant which will be powered by food waste is on track to be generating electricity in North Wales by the summer. The 22,500 tonne-a-year anaerobic digestion plant will make enough electricity for about 1,500 homes as well as bio-fertiliser. [Daily Post North Wales]

¶   Irish tidal technology company OpenHydro is set to build a 4 MW underwater generator array in Canada, marking the world’s first multi-megawatt array of interconnected tidal turbines. The turbine design is considered to be one of the world’s most advanced. [Irish Examiner]

¶   The international geothermal market has been booming over the past year. Some 700 geothermal projects are currently under development in 76 countries. In the U.S., support for geothermal power has been increasing, with new initiatives taking root in three states. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶   German utility E.ON said Friday it plans to retire its 1.3 GW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor in May 2015, seven months ahead of the planned shutdown under Germany’s nuclear phase-out law. [Platts]

¶   The prefectural assembly in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, which hosts a Chugoku Electric Power Co. nuclear power plant, has rejected an ordinance backed by more than 80,000 citizens calling for nuclear power to be phased out in the prefecture. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   The US Senate finance committee is expected to take up a package of expired tax provisions, known as extenders, starting next week, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are demanding they extend investment and production tax credits for wind projects. [reNews]

¶   Wind generation in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Thursday set a record for power production at one time for the second time this month. Wind generators met 10,296 MW, or nearly 29% of ERCOT’s demand. ERCOT manages power for 23 million customers. [Platts]

¶   At a conference on Capitol Hill on Friday morning, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy talked up a new set of national carbon standards that she plans to formally unveil in June. [NEWS.GNOM.ES]

¶   Virginia has issued $860,000 in grants to four businesses to fund research that will accelerate the development of offshore wind power and the industry’s supply chain. Virginia has prime locations due to consistent wind conditions and extensive shallow waters. [NewNet]


March 28 Energy News

March 28, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Analysts Frost & Sullivan expect the global market for micro-grids to accelerate rapidly from next year as a thirst for renewable energy – driven by solar PV – prompts greater demand for power in off-grid locations. [eco-business.com]

World:

¶   Scotland generated a record 17,011 GWh of electricity in 2013, a rise of 16.4% on the previous year, according to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. That means about 46.5% of Scotland’s energy needs came from sources such as wind or hydro power. [Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra]

¶   The crisis in Ukraine has highlighted the fragility of the European Union’s energy security. Currently, the 28-country group imports around 30% of its gas from Russia – a level that has added urgency to the search for alternative sources of energy. [CNBC.com]

¶   Residents of the English village that was the center of anti-fracking protests have formed their own renewable energy co-operative, REPOWERBalcombe. They plan to install £300,000 worth of solar panels on the rooftops of local buildings to meet 7.5% of local electric demand. [Energy Live News]

¶   Wind energy could contribute an additional €5 billion per year to gross domestic product in the next decade if Ireland exports renewable power, according to a new report by global engineering firm Pöyry Management Consulting. [Irish Times]

¶   The government of Guyana has partnered with Brazil to begin a pre-feasibility study of the Upper and Middle Mazaruni areas to determine the potential of hydropower development in the area. [Atlanta Black Star]

¶   UK renewable power generation rose 28% last year as more wind farms and solar plants came online, while the country’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 1.9%, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   Renewable energy consultancy Natural Power provided consent support to the 1.1GW Moray offshore wind farm off the Caithness coast in Scotland, the second largest offshore wind project consented in the UK. [reNews]

¶   South Africa has made clear it intends to add several more nuclear power plants to its current energy mix. There are 21 other African countries thinking about pursuing nuclear power. Activists worry about the cost, the environment and potential security hazards. [AllAfrica.com]

US:

¶   The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, by a vote of 4-0, directed Xcel Energy to negotiate a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy, a renewable energy developer based in Edina, to build $250 million in solar arrays. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶   The Iowa Senate, with bipartisan support, passed legislation designed to help expand renewable energy production in Iowa. Senators voted 46-0 to pass two separate bills that bolster state tax credits for solar and renewable energy. [Mason City Globe Gazette]

¶   The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report on energy infrastructure says approximately 92% of the new installations for energy production during the first two months of the year were for solar, wind, biomass or thermal power generation. [Triple Pundit]

¶   March 28 marks 35 years since the meltdown at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Despite the long passage of time, myths and misinformation about the disaster still abound. Many questions may never be answered. [The Ecologist]


March 27 Energy News

March 27, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   It has been confirmed that Volkswagen is working on a powerful new battery for its EV fleet. Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser said “an 80 kWh unit is under development using our own technology.” [CleanTechnica]

¶   Honda and the University of California, Davis, today marked the opening of Honda Smart Home US, showcasing technologies that enable zero net energy living and transportation. The home will produce more energy than it consumes, including an electric car. [Phys.Org]

World:

¶   The global microgrid market is rapidly gaining prominence as supportive government policies in various countries encourage the setting up of renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar farms. [Greentech Media]

¶   More than 47,000 jobs would be created in the development of Ireland’s wind energy sector by 2020 if the country can progress a multi-billion euro plan to export energy to the UK, a major report predicts. [Irish Independent]

¶   There has been a big increase in the amount of electricity that can be produced by solar installations in Devon and Cornwall. Regen South West estimates solar energy can power the equivalent of more than 100,000 homes, up from 890 in 2011. [BBC News]

¶   Gamesa signed an agreement to supply 49.3 MW in wind turbine capacity to the Chinese company CGN Wind Energy, for the Chengdingsha wind farm being built in Shandong province. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶   Kenya is forging ahead with plans to build a nuclear power plant by 2025 as part of an ambitious development agenda. However, the project is not without its doubters, who wonder whether nuclear power is safe compared to other clean energy sources. [Voice of America]

US:

¶   First Solar expects its average manufacturing cost to fall by nearly half – from an average $0.63/W in 2013, to $0.35/W in 2018. That will bring the total cost of a module (including racking and inverters) from around $1.59/W to below $1/W by 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶   America’s most comprehensive study of energy efficiency costs has found programs paid for by utility customers cost just two cents per kWh of power saved. The new study is from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Leading scientists have repeatedly made clear that global warming is worsening the drought in California. Though there are now some saying it is the result of human activity, they say the what caused the drought “is the wrong question to ask.” [Energy Collective]

¶   A measure to repeal the state’s 2009 renewable energy standards for power generation was rejected Wednesday in the Kansas House by a vote of 77-42 despite critics who argued the requirements drive up utility bills and unfairly push one industry over another. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced an important milestone for California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard – the utility delivered 22.5% of its power from eligible renewable resources in 2013 and is on track to meet the state’s clean energy goals for 2020. [AZoCleantech]

¶   Hawaiian Telcom Inc. is seeking approval from state regulators to install rooftop solar PV panels on 78 of its locations across the state in a move the utility says will produce “significant savings” on its electric bill. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   By a broad bipartisan margin, the Maine Senate again unplugged a proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to remove a 100-megawatt cap on hydropower as required in the state’s renewable energy portfolio. [Bangor Daily News]

¶   A Kentucky Toyota plant has teamed up with Waste Services of the Bluegrass to generate power from local landfill waste. Toyota estimates the locally generated landfill gas will supply enough power each year for the production of 10,000 vehicles. [KyForward.com]


March 26 Energy News

March 26, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Rail power storage is conceptually simple. During low-demand periods, power is used to pull a chain of weighted train cars uphill. And there they will sit, losing no power to degradation, until needed in a high-demand period, when their return downhill produces power. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

World:

¶   Solar energy now costs the same as conventionally generated electricity in Germany, Italy and Spain, a report has revealed. The research has warned, however, that high installation costs are impeding other countries from achieving grid parity. [RT]

¶   Japan approved an 11% cut in tariffs for solar power as a building boom meant the technology made up 97% of new renewable capacity since it offered incentives. Slightly higher tariffs are being offered for offshore wind and other forms of renewable power. [eco-business.com]

¶   China, the world’s top emitter, is only using about five% of its total biomass potential. So far, over 260 new biomass projects have been completed, providing 4,870 MW. Growth in biomass capacity is expected to be about 40% per year for the next three to five years. [eco-business.com]

¶   Sales of residential solar storage systems in Germany are tipped to boom, with new figures projecting roughly 20-fold growth over the next four years. A study predicts a nationwide market of 100,000 units by 2018, up from 6,000 last year. [RenewEconomy]

¶   In the UK, Highview Energy Storage signed a global licensing and technology agreement with GE’s Oil and Gas unit for liquid air storage technology. The technology uses off-peak power to liquefy air at -320.8ºF. When power is needed, the liquid air boils to run a turbine. [Energy and Capital]

¶   Wholesale power prices in Germany have plunged 34% since 2010 amid record output from renewables, while electricity demand last year slumped to the weakest since 2009, according to energy researcher AG Energiebilanzen e.V. [Bloomberg]

¶   Officials at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant say they have switched off a key decontamination system used to clean radiation-tainted water after workers discovered leaks. The system has been suffering from a series of glitches. [Press TV]

US:

¶   Morgan Stanley says it has been overwhelmed by the response to its analysis suggesting that falling costs of both solar modules and battery storage presented a potential tipping point that would encourage huge numbers of homeowners and businesses in the US to go off grid. [RenewEconomy]

¶   The city of Milwaukee is exploring becoming energy independent—not just by reducing its electricity use and increasing its renewable energy portfolio, but perhaps by severing ties with We Energies (Wisconsin Energy Corporation). [Express Milwaukee]

¶   A bill repealing renewable energy standards for utility companies won approval in the Kansas Senate with a vote of 25-15. The bill now goes to the House. The current standard requires utility companies to receive 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. [Kansas.com]

¶   A Rhode Island company is proposing to erect a 35-turbine wind farm about 30 miles off the coast of Montauk. Deepwater Wind said if its latest proposal is accepted, it would produce around 200 MW by 2018. The cost would be about $1 billion. [Newsday]

¶   A 300-mile power cable line would be buried on land and run underwater from Maine to Boston in a proposal to tap Canada’s hydropower for power-hungry southern New England, meeting a need for to 3,600 MW of renewable energy. [Nanaimo Daily News]

¶   US electricity sales fell by 1.9% in 2012 over 2007’s figures and sales in the first ten months of 2013 have fallen even lower, according to a new white paper released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy. [Buildings]


March 25 Energy News

March 25, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Replacing Fossil Fuel and Nuclear Power with Renewable Energy: Wind, Solar and Hydro Power” The big oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies claim that we need those energy sources in order to power America. Good news: it’s a myth. [Center for Research on Globalization]

Grid Security:

¶   A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission analysis found a fairly easy way for terrorists to knock out all the electric grids in the US. And not just for a short time, but for about a year and a half! Reliance on distributed solar and wind power could prevent this. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Earth narrowly missed being hit by a massive coronal ejection during the summer of 2012, according to a new study. The effect of such an event could be damage to the electric grid and electronic devices that could take years to repair. [Yahoo News Canada]

Science and Technology:

¶   LED lamp efficiency is improving and will continue to do so, both on the short-term and over the long haul. Meanwhile, the cost will decrease over time in much the same manner. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. [India.Com Health]

¶   The world has moved on since that 1986 catastrophe, but at Chernobyl, one thing hasn’t changed very much: The dead trees, plants and leaves at the contaminated site don’t decay at nearly the same rate as plants elsewhere, researchers have found. [LiveScience.com]

World:

¶   Innergex Renewable Energy and the Mi’gmaq communities have inked a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec Distribution for a 150 MW wind energy project located in Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec. [Energy Business Review]

¶   GE launched its new Distributed Power business in the Middle East and North Africa region at the ecomagination Center in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. The business has three key product lines—Aeroderivative Gas Turbines, Jenbacher Gas Engines and Waukesha Gas Engines. [PennEnergy]

¶   One home in thirteen is equipped with a PV system in Belgium, which ranks the country third in the world when it comes to solar energy. By the end of 2013, Belgium was able to produce nearly 30 GW of solar power. [Greenfudge.org]

¶   Vattenfall is planning to grow its renewable energy portfolio as part of overall plans to reduce its carbon dioxide exposure, according to its integrated 2013 annual and sustainability report. [reNews]

¶   Amid tensions over Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, the US DOE conditionally approved the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Coos Bay, Oregon. The proposed $7.5 billion export terminal would export up to 0.8 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas per day. [Christian Science Monitor]

¶   Japan will transfer all the highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium held at the country’s fast critical assembly facility to the United States, the two countries said in a joint statement on Monday. [The Nation]

US:

¶   Green Mountain Power based in Colchester, Vermont, and California Governor Jerry Brown were among three to receive a national solar energy award, as Vote Solar announced Friday its 2014 Solar Champion Award recipients. [Vermont Biz]

¶   Illinois’ clean energy industry employs an astounding 96,875 workers and is expected to grow by 9% in 2014 –pushing clean energy employment into six figures by year’s end. [Energy Collective]

¶   A recent reportreleased by Wisconsin Environment says Wisconsin’s energy efficiency requirements reduced carbon pollution by at least 4 million metric tons in 2012 alone, and a switch to renewable electricity increased that amount greatly. [UW Badger Herald]

¶   Duke Energy Renewables has awarded turnkey engineering, procurement, and construction services to Swinerton Renewable Energy for two 20 MW solar power projects in California. The Pumpjack and Wildwood plants are located near Bakersfield, California. [reNews]

 


March 24 Energy News

March 24, 2014

Books:

¶   The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson, Reviewed by Chris Patsilelis. Filled with drama, vivid anecdotes, and breathtaking scientific breakthroughs, this book is an engrossing, comprehensive history of the atomic age. [Philly.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   The United Nations believes that by 2050, 40% of the world population will be living in areas with severe water stress. The only way they see out is development of alternate energy systems which require far less water than conventional power plants. [GreenPacks]

¶   Former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu isn’t mincing words these days – and he offers some advice to help power companies avoid a “death spiral”. The death spiral could have been avoided if utilities embraced solar instead of resisting it. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶   The global solar PV industry is headed into a five-year growth spurt that will put it on track for cumulative installed capacity of 500 GW by 2018, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz Marketbuzz report. [CleanTechnica]

¶   SAP AG today announced that it will power all its data centers and facilities globally with 100 percent renewable electricity starting in 2014. The shift will help reduce carbon emissions caused by its customers’ systems by moving them into a green cloud. [NEWS.GNOM.ES]

¶   Alstom has been awarded a contract to provide wind turbines for Gimnyeong wind farm located in Jeju Island, Korea. The contract covers 10 onshore wind turbines, each with an output of 3 MW. [SteelGuru]

¶   According to Sugar Regulatory Administrator Maria Regina Martin, awarded biomass/power cogeneration projects among 19 sugarcane mills in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental will have a projected capacity to produce 138.7 MW. [Sun.Star]

US:

¶   California has set new records for solar energy production on March 8, 14, 15, and 16. The state’s grid operator has concluded it has to change its protocol for announcing them, making announcements on 500-MW increments, rather than 50-MW. [Energy Collective]

¶   ExxonMobil will publicize the risks that stricter carbon emissions rules and limits will have on its business. In doing so, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas corporation in the world became the first such company to do this. [Triple Pundit]

¶   March 24 marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, an event that altered the Prince William Sound ecosystem, perhaps forever. The once-robust herring fisheries remain closed. Exxon’s bill, $92 million, remains unpaid. [Anchorage Daily News]

 


March 23 Energy News

March 23, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Climate change may aggravate water scarcity in the world, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned on World Water Day. Ban said efforts to provide universal access to water and energy would be undermined if the current global warming trends continue. [India.com]

¶   First Solar announced on Wednesday that they had set a new world record for  cadmium-telluride PV module conversion efficiency, reaching a record of 17%, up from its previous record of 16.1% efficiency. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   In the first system of its kind in the UK, a heat pump in the Thames will provide hot water for radiators, showers and taps in nearly 150 homes and a 140-room hotel and conference center in London, cutting 500 tons of carbon emissions annually. [The Independent]

¶   A UK village may be one of the first in the country to build its own heating station – run by the residents themselves to slash energy bills. A central biomass heating plant would supply heat, with a cost reduction expected to be 20%. [Teesdale Mercury]

¶   The government of Pakistan is in process of implementing around 29 different wind power projects as per its plan to enhance power production in the country. Two projects, with capacity of 106.4 MW are already operating. [Business Recorder]

US:

¶   The solar industry claimed victory in all of the 2013 battles by preserving net metering. In 2014, public support for solar remains undeniable: the rooftop solar industry just defeated two additional attacks in Utah and the state of Washington. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Tidal energy potential in the US has largely been untapped compared to Scotland and several other countries, but that is about to change in a big way, especially along the eastern seaboard. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Two weeks ago, it looked like a record winter was over, and a threatened shortfall in natural gas inventories had been avoided. Now, the key question is whether this can be replaced in time for the next heating season or the ones after that. [Resilience]

¶   A recent report on public health near the 30-year-old Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is the first of its kind analyzing how much radiation the plant emitted and trends in local disease and death rates. It shows and increase in cancer. [Santa Maria Times]


March 22 Energy News

March 22, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Could a 500-house community go off-grid?” The shift away from a centralised to stand-alone community power solutions could be “quick and dramatic”, with most Australian regional towns able to function economically off-grid as soon early as 2020. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶   A study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science concluded it takes more work to make combinations of solar power and storage sustainable than it takes to do the same with combinations of wind power and storage. [RedOrbit]

World:

¶   The costs of achieving a more ambitious EU climate target are estimated to be moderate, according to a new report. Greenhouse-gas emissions reduction of 40% by 2030 would be likely to cost less than an additional 0.7% of economic activity. [reportingclimatescience.com]

¶   The UK’s energy regulator, Ofgem, has warned that the capacity margin, the amount of excess supply above peak demand, may drop below the 2% level in 2015, the lowest level in Western Europe. [PennEnergy]

¶   The UK Government’s divisive plans for a new £16 billion civil nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset have been dealt a double blow by the United Nations and a powerful group of MPs. [The Independent]

US:

¶   First Solar Inc., of Tempe, Arizona, has begun construction of its 250 MW-AC Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. The project is located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of Nevada. [solarserver.com]

¶   Plans for a controversial cogeneration plant in Newark, Delaware have been approved by local authorities, despite protests. The 279 MW gas-fired plant will provide power and up to 200,000 kg of steam for heat at the University of Delaware. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   A report from the  NRDC shows that energy efficiency measures would produce dramatic carbon emission reductions, and that increasing renewable energy system deployment (wind and solar) would make an even bigger impact. [Examiner.com]

¶   Solar energy development in the Lincoln area got a big boost when the Lincoln Electric System Administrative Board approved a new renewable energy rate and incentive program. The program improves incentives for net metered solar systems. [Lincoln Journal Star]

¶   The California Independent System Operator’s board of governors approved Thursday 30 transmission projects costing about $1.83 billion through the grid operator’s 2013-2014 transmission plan, an ISO spokesman said Friday. [Platts]

¶   Wisconsin electric cooperatives Vernon Electric Cooperative and Dairyland Power Cooperative are setting the stage for increased community-owned solar, in partnership with the Clean Energy Collective. [Fierce Energy]

¶   American Capital Energy kicked off construction of nine solar projects totalling 22 MW in Massachusetts. The portfolio in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard includes 19.5 MW located on capped landfills. [reNews]

¶   Sempra US Gas & Power and Consolidated Edison Development have announced they will partner on a 360 MW solar portfolio, each taking a 50% stake in the 250 MW Copper Mountain 3 project near Las Vegas along with other projects. [PV-Tech]


March 21 Energy News

March 21, 2014

World:

¶   EU heads of state and government will discuss their 2030 climate agenda with a renewed sense of urgency amid calls to reduce the EU’s dependency on Russian gas imports following the annexation of Crimea and looming trade sanctions on Moscow. [EurActiv]

¶   A $150 million geothermal energy facility will be built near Malta, thanks to positive results from months of complex drilling. Aguacaliente found that three wells all proved suitable, and the project can go ahead. It will create 800 jobs. [Twin Falls Times-News]

¶   Tidal lagoon power plants placed off Britain’s shores could provide renewable energy significantly cheaper than energy sourced from offshore wind farms, according to a new study. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   In a report published by the UN on the eve of World Water Day, it said the cravings for clean water and electricity were intertwined and could badly strain Earth’s limited resources. [MSN Malaysia News]

¶   The Town of Cochrane has recently approved a unique pilot project in the Tamani Communities’ development of Riviera in Riversong, Cochrane, Alberta. Two residential wind-powered turbines have been erected as a part the environmental initiative plan. [Canada NewsWire]

US:

¶   Regulated utility National Grid US has agreed to take over construction of transmission cables and substations for Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW Block Island wind project off the coast of Rhode Island. [reNews]

¶   SunEdison, a leading solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services announced that it has completed construction of a 24 MW DC solar power plant located in the California Desert. [Your Industry News]

¶   The Kansas Senate Utilities Committee approved a bill that would repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standards. The standards, mandate that electricity suppliers get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. [Kansas.com]

¶    New evidence says one of the best tools for dealing with climate change is within reach. The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report showing that the United States can cut more carbon pollution from power plants, at less cost, than previously thought. [LiveScience.com]

¶   The South Shore Vocational Technical High School (SSVT) will be sharing the economic benefits of the renewable energy produced by the Scituate solar array. The solar array will supply power equal to all of the town’s electric needs. [Wicked Local Scituate]

¶   The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a 10-year license to Snohomish County Public Utility District to install a 600-kW tidal-power system. The Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project will evaluate viability of such systems in Puget Sound. [Bloomberg]

¶   An NRC official said in a statement that Entergy staff did not follow proper procedures when they “detonated a suspicious item” that resembled a pipe bomb inside the nuclear power plant compound. [Brattleboro Reformer]


March 20 Energy News

March 20, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Governor Cuomo’s Energy Plan Inadequate to the Challenge of Climate Change” The Sierra club is happy about some parts of the New York plan for energy, but believes that in some ways it is woefully inadequate. [Artvoice]

Science and Technology:

¶   Oil giant BP has downplayed the risk posed by a so-called ‘carbon bubble’, saying the theory “oversimplifies” the risks associated with a transition to a low carbon economy and “overestimates” its financial impact on fossil fuel industries. [Business Green]

World:

¶   A £1 billion wind farm in ­Scottish waters that would be the third largest in the world has been given the green light. Approval has been granted for up to 326 turbines off Caithness, providing electricity for more than a million homes. [Herald Scotland]

¶   The Australian Senate has voted today to block legislation that would repeal the carbon tax. The Labor Party and the Greens combined to vote against the repeal laws 33 votes to 29. [Australian Mining]

¶   In the Philippines, the Davao City Council approved anew on Tuesday the expansion of the generating capacity of Aboitiz’ Therma South Incorporated coal-fired power plant up to 650 MW, despite concerns over climate change. [Bulatlat]

¶   The supply of electricity in parts of South Africa has failed to grow with demand, leading to rolling blackouts. Meanwhile wind producers are waiting in the wings, ready to produce an extra 1000 MW – if the government would give them the nod. [Independent Online]

¶   The British Pig and Poultry Fair is focusing on the subject of energy this year. Energy has been one of the highest input costs on many farms, but thinking about renewable energy options can turn it into an additional income stream. [FarmersWeekly]

¶   Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe said Wednesday that his metropolitan government would launch a new fund to promote use of renewable energy, but he refused to take a stand on nuclear power. [CCTV] (Masuzoe’s recent election in a race against two important anti-nuclear candidates in February was regarded as an important victory for the pro-nuclear side in Japan.)

US:

¶   Goldman Sachs recently released a report that states solar energy is fast approaching grid parity – the moment when electricity from solar power becomes the same price or cheaper than electricity produced by fossil fuels. [inhabitat]

¶   Residents and business owners of Greenfield, Massachusetts will soon be able to purchase and install low-cost solar systems thanks to a new town program. The Solar Challenge program hopes to increase the installation of small-scale solar systems. [The Recorder]

¶   First Solar and GE are working to develop a more cost-effective and productive utility-scale PV power plant design. The project combines First Solar’s thin-film CdTe modules with GE’s new ProSolar 1,500-volt inverter/transformer system. [reNews]

¶   Colorado is at the center of a growing move toward hydropower on a smaller scale. While big hydropower projects are largely a thing of the past because of ecological impacts, small hydro can produce power with little or no adverse effects. [KUNC]


March 19 Energy News

March 19, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “5 Issues That Keep Utility Execs Up at Night” Two recent surveys of power and utility executives show they know a transformation is coming. But dig a little deeper, and there is a disparity of opinion in what that change looks like and what is driving it. [Energy Collective]

Science and Technology:

¶   Available evidence does not support the notion that wind farms cause adverse health effects, according to a position statement published by the Australia Medical Association. By contrast, anti-wind “scare tactics,” cause unhealthy levels of anxiety. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶   Cahill Energy, a Guernsey-based developer of clean-power plants, will build a $241 million waste-to-electricity facility in Barbados. The plant will have a capacity of 30 MW to 35 MW, and will operate by the end of the second quarter of 2017. [Stabroek News]

¶   Jordan signed a $24 million agreement with Arabia One for Clean Energy Investments to build a solar-run power generation plant in Maan, 220 km south of Amman. It will have a total capacity of 10 MW. [Al-Bawaba]

¶   The Barrington, Nova Scotia, Municipal Council is considering whether the Cape Sable Island Causeway, built in 1949, could be opened to allow water to flow through Barrington Passage once again, and generate electricity at the same time. [Nova News Now]

¶   German power giant RWE has announced plans to sell its oil and gas unit Dea to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s L1 Energy in a $7.1 billion deal, as European power companies struggle to compete with European clean energy schemes. [OilPrice.com]

¶   Britain is at risk of losing electricity in large sections of the country as a result of water shortages that are likely to happen in coming decades, according to a study by top academics from Newcastle and Oxford University. [Water Online]

¶   The UK firm Highview Power Storage and GE Oil & Gas agreed to collaborate on an energy storage project studying integration of Highview’s liquid air energy storage technology in power plants where GE gas turbines and engines will be installed. [Energy Live News]

¶   Former Japanese Prime Minister Kan told German lawmakers that the Fukushima nuclear disaster remains unresolved. He criticized current Prime Minister Abe’s government for dealing with the disaster, and for pushing to restart idled reactors. [The Japan Daily Press]

US:

¶   Minnesota is the first state to allow utilities a new method of contracting with distributed solar producers, a market-based “value of solar.” If adopted by utilities, it will fundamentally change the relationship between utilities and distributed producers. [CleanTechnica]

¶   It is that time of year. Spring is set to arrive in Kansas, and with its arrival, ALEC and the Koch brothers are pushing yet another pointless and harmful attack on Kansas’s wildly successful Renewable Energy Standard. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶   A bill in the Massachusetts State Senate, SB 1970, would allow renewable thermal technologies to qualify for the Alternative Portfolio Standard and provide a credit that incentivizes renewable thermal technologies. [Fierce Energy]

¶   The EPA is seeking stronger standards on the emissions put out by wood burning stoves. New regulations would cause all new wood burning stoves, including pellet stoves, to burn 80 percent cleaner than their predecessors. [The Salem News]


March 18 Energy News

March 18, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Can the Energy Sector Become a Climate Resiliency Leader?” The energy industry has the opportunity to become a leader rather than a laggard on climate change risk analysis by embracing the evaluation of risks and applying its resources. [Energy Collective]

Science and Technology:

¶   To boost the range of EVs toward 300 miles or more, researchers are reporting new progress on a “breathing” battery that has the potential to one day replace the lithium-ion technology of today’s EVs. It is a lithium-air technology using air as the cathode. [Science Daily]

¶   Greenhouse gases must be cut 40% to 70% within 36 years to prevent cataclysmic environmental changes, according to a U.N. panel’s draft report that urges an immediate shift away from coal-fired power plants. [Asahi Shimbun]

World:

¶   Huge losses at star Chinese renewable energy firms are ringing alarm bells as the nation vows to keep its growth momentum by investing in the environmental sector. Some large solar and wind manufacturers had loses, and Suntech filed for bankruptcy. [Chemistry World]

¶   In Australia, University of New South Wales water engineers have studied pumped storage for renewable power and are urging the New South Wales government to consider it to help meet the state’s future power demands. [Phys.Org]

¶   Clive Palmer could pose a threat to any attempt by the Australian government to dismantle the renewable energy framework associated with the carbon tax. He plans to develop a $6 billion coal mine in Queensland, but is a ”supporter of renewable energy”. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   GE Energy Financial Services expects to invest hundreds of millions of euros in renewable energy across Europe this year. The company invests in projects individually valued at more than $25 million that use proven technologies. [Bloomberg]

¶   The province of Utrecht needs a large numbers of super windmills along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal and public motorways. The recommendation was published by spatial quality adviser Ingeborg Thoral in the report “Energy Landscapes.” [Utrecht Central]

¶   Dozens of Greenpeace activists sneaked into a nuclear power plant in eastern France at dawn. As a demonstration of weak security, they broke into the Fessenheim plant and hung a banner reading “Stop risking Europe’’ on the side of one of its reactors. [The Daily Telegraph]

US:

¶   New Jersey Governor Christie’s administration expedited a rule proposal this week that would curtail Tesla Motor’s ability to sell directly to customers through its stores. Tesla wants to sell directly to customers because it is selling a new technology. [Energy Collective]

¶   Customer-owned utility Midwest Energy and community solar developer Clean Energy Collective announced signing an agreement to build a 1-MW community solar PV array, the largest in Kansas, with panels owned by Midwest Energy members. [hays Post]

¶   Small-scale biomass plants could provide substantial benefits to the economies of rural areas, as well as doing a great deal to help stabilize the national grid, according to new research from the University of Missouri. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Vermont House committee Chairman Tony Klein, an East Montpelier Democrat, says he’s hopeful Senate changes to a bill passed earlier by the House will be accepted by his House colleagues so the measure can be sent quickly to Governor Shumlin. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]


March 17 Energy News

March 17, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “EPA Unlikely to Buy Argument that Keystone XL Will Not Worsen Climate Change: Agency Concerns Were Ignored” NRDC concludes that the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement  failed to address many EPA core concerns. [Energy Collective]

¶   “Solar PV to replace coal as ‘incumbent’ technology” Clean Energy Council CEO David Green says Australia is embarking on a radical, market-driven transformation of its electricity system that will see solar PV become the “incumbent” technology. [RenewEconomy]

¶   “Solar Power Threatening Future for U.S. Electric Utilities” A utility has to maintain the entire infrastructure of wires and poles only to have to buy back electricity generated by rooftop solar at the highest prevailing rate, often more than it can use. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶   Part of ending society’s addiction to fossil fuels is ending our addiction to the plastics they are used to make. There are a number of plastics that offer alternative solutions that do not use fossil fuels at all. [Care2.com]

World:

¶   The Australian Capital Territory is looking for bids on wind power. By offering a fixed 20-year tariff for 200 MW of wind capacity bid at the lowest price, it provides a measure of political certainty to developers in a buyers market. [Echonetdaily]

¶   China pledged on Sunday that it will make sure that 60% of its cities meet national pollution standards by 2020, with pressure growing to make cities livable as hundreds of millions of migrants are expected to relocate from the countryside. [The New Age Online]

¶   The Kraftpojkarna solar plant has been inaugurated in Sweden, becoming the largest operational tracker-based PV project in Scandinavia. The 1 MW facility covers 4.5 hectares along the main highway between Stockholm and Oslo. [reNews]

¶   Fitch Ratings says European utilities are better prepared for temporary disruption to Russian gas supplies via Ukraine than in the past. Gas demand fallen over the past few years, and is continuing, partly due to the increase in renewable energy generation. [Azerbaijan Business Center]

¶   Iran has continued buying parts for its nuclear program using covert means despite mostly keeping to an interim deal with six world powers, despite a UN embargo on selling nuclear military or nuclear materials to Iran that is in place. [The Times of Israel]

¶   Chuo Electric Power is set to open Japan’s first new geothermal power project in 15 years. The new geothermal plant is situated on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, in Kumamoto Prefecture, a region known for its natural hot springs and volcanic activity. [The Japan Daily Press]

¶   The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday his agency would keep working to improve safety after the Fukushima crisis, but no atomic plant could be “100%” safe from natural disasters. [News24]

¶   Last year, French utility firm EDF Energy, currently in charge of the Hinkley nuclear power project, was ordered to shut down the reactor at Dungeness B for five months while it corrected botched work to sea defence fortifications, without any public notice. [Click Green]

US:

¶   Eco-friendly cleaning supply company Method , along with the mayor of Chicago, announced details of the new production facility in Chicago, which it hopes will be the first LEED Platinum certified factory in the consumer packaged goods industry. [Triple Pundit]

¶   A pioneering method of turning waste plastic into fuel is quietly establishing a $20 million-plus foothold in Akron. A startup called Vadxx Energy is setting up a plant where scrap plastic will go in at one end and liquid fuel will come out the other. [Akron Beacon Journal]

¶   The Wyoming legislature has blocked educators’ use of new science standards that include the modern understanding of evolution and climate science. The reason appears to be because they do not like the implications of climate science. [Ars Technica]


March 16 Energy News

March 16, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Can Coal Ever Be Clean?” Coal provides 40% of the world’s electricity. It produces 39% of global CO₂ emissions. It kills thousands a year in mines, many more with polluted air. Environmentalists say that clean coal is a myth. Of course it is. [National Geographic]

¶   “Could a giant sunburst unplug the Earth?” A coronal mass ejection, depending on the magnetic makeup of its electrons, could penetrate the planet’s magnetic field, shorting out satellites and frying electric lines. It might take years to recover. [The Seattle Times]

World:

¶   According to a Frost & Sullivan report, the smart grid market worldwide is forecast to witness a compound annual growth rate of 26.6%, reaching $125 billion by 2017, with 75% of Europe anticipated to be smart grid-enabled by 2018. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶   Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said that he is optimistic about tackling climate change – but only if concrete action is taken to reduce global emissions and governments ensure clean and reliable energy is prioritized. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   Tencent’s financial portal says China may want to build nuclear plants to combat smog, but China’s backwards technology and the long construction process required for nuclear power make it a less-than-optimal choice for dealing with the problem. [WantChinaTimes]

US:

¶   Average temperatures this winter were among the top 10 coldest in some parts of the Upper Midwest and South. But while East Coast and Midwest were cold, it has not been cold everywhere. In fact, many areas are unusually warm. [Energy Collective]

¶   In 2009, The Providence Journal wrote about the race to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States, with projects off Block Island and Cape Cod at the front of the pack. Five years later, the race continues. [The Providence Journal]

¶   In two years, production of biodiesel jumped 63%, from 1.1 billion gallons in 2012 to 1.8 billion in 2013, and continues to accelerate. The National Biodiesel Board’s goal for 2015, having biodiesel make up 5% of all US diesel fuels, was reached last year. [The Desert Sun]

¶   The massive Cape Wind offshore wind farm scored a huge legal victory on Friday, when a US District Judge upheld the results of a ten-year permitting process and rejected a laundry list of claims brought by opposition groups. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Ultimate Energy Source, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, wants to build a 1.2-MW solar farm with between 4,500 and 4,700 solar panels on a hill overlooking Interstate 495 in Methuen, Massachusetts. [Eagle-Tribune]


March 15 Energy News

March 15, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “How Risky Is It To Invest In Oil Stocks?” Oil — the energy king… of the 20th century. But what about the 21st century? Purely from a financial point of view, would oil stocks be a good way to invest your money? [CleanTechnica]

¶   “Putin Can’t Turn Off Europe’s Wind” So said the President of the European Wind Energy Association, Andrew Garrad, in reference to the turmoil in Ukraine, but it really makes a much broader point: wind and solar energy provide better energy security. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “350.org Reacts to Royal Dutch Shell Warning Its Profits Will Be Hit by Climate Change Regulation” In its annual and strategic report for 2013, Royal Dutch Shell warns that its profitability will be hit as governments step up efforts to reduce GHG emissions. [eNews Park Forest]

Science and Technology:

¶   Toshiba Corporation announced that it has delivered battery energy storage systems integrating the company’s innovative lithium-ion secondary battery to Kyushu Electric Power, to demonstrate the battery’s utility on remote islands. [Daily Fusion]

¶   Scientists at the University of California Berkeley say harnessing energy from the regular movement of large amounts of water could provide cheap electricity and drinking water for coastal communities. [Voice of America]

World:

¶   The Alberta energy regulator has suspended the fastest-growing source of bitumen production around Fort McMurray due to concerns about fracturing the region’s cap rock. Five companies, with properties worth billions, have been affected by the freeze. [Resilience]

¶   More than three-quarters of Britons say they support offshore wind energy while only 36% say they are in favour of fracking for shale gas, according to the results of a new Government poll. [Click Green]

¶   Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, said the Government Pension Fund Global would aim to focus 5% of its investments of 5,000 billion kroner ($800 billion) on renewables investment. Currently, oil and gas accounts for 8.4%. [PV-Tech]

¶   More than 5,000 protesters gathered at Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo to urge the government not to restart nuclear plants, as regulators review whether to let Kyushu Electric Power to restart two reactors at its Sendai power plant. [Straits Times]

US:

¶   To put Austin Energy’s recent deal to buy power from a solar farm into perspective, we can compare its price of just under 5¢ per kWh with costs from other power sources, including wind, natural gas, coal and nuclear. Spoiler: Renewables win. [Treehugger]

¶   Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index, a tool to compare states’ use and development of clean and sustainable energy, found more than 3.5 million job postings in the clean energy sector last year, a 19% increase from 2012. [Windpower Engineering]

¶   Residential solar power provider SolarCity®  announced a partnership with Best Buy. The collaboration will make SolarCity’s services available to consumers at about 60 Best Buy stores in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York and Oregon. [PennEnergy]

¶   DTE Energy Services has finished its project to convert a coal-fired power plant at the Port of Stockton to operate on biomass fuel, mostly urban wood waste, tree trimmings and agricultural processes. The plant will generate about 45 MW. [PennEnergy]

¶   Scientific models show the leading edge of the radioactive plume from the Fukushima Disaster hitting the West Coast from southeast Alaska to Southern California between April, 2014 and March 2016. [The Japan Times]


March 14 Energy News

March 14, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “How a false solution to climate change is damaging the natural world” In growing maize for biogas, the crop that does most damage to the soil is being specifically exempted from the rules. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶   GE has developed a new type of wind tower, the “Space Frame Tower,” consisting of metal latticework wrapped in weather-resistant fiberglass. The new technology could bring turbines to hard-to-reach locations, according to company engineers. [CleanTechies]

¶   A hybrid concentrated solar power CHP plant being tested at Arizona State University produces power 24/7, moving seamlessly from solar to natural gas or biogas, and is also promising because it uses little to no water. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   The US DOE and the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration are jointly launching a pilot project to test the concept hydrogen fuel cells mounted on barges providing power to visiting ships, cutting emissions from onboard diesel generators. [POWER magazine]

World:

¶   The Africa Renewable Energy Fund, which aims to invest in renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, has raised $100 million expects to double that this year. The fund will target independent power projects producing between 5 MW and 50 MW. [Independent Online]

¶   Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party who is currently leading in the polls in the lead-up to the Indian general election in May, is a big fan of solar – and pioneered the first incentives for large-scale solar power in 2009. But he is not a  fan of coal. [RenewEconomy]

¶   In Germany, 16% of all companies produced their own power last year, according to the German Chamber of Commerce, up from about 10% a year earlier. 23% more companies are considering joining this trend. [3BL Media]

¶   Saudi Arabia will put 700-1000 MW of solar power out to tender by the end of the year, according to Vahid Fotuhi, president of the Middle East Solar Industry Association. The country has long-term ambitions to invest more than US$109 billion in solar energy. [PV-Tech]

¶   A near half-decade boom in oil investments in Norway is about to come to an end, sapping momentum in the economy of western Europe’s largest crude producer, the country’s main economic forecaster said. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶   City-owned Austin Energy is about to sign a 25-year PPA with Sun Edison for 150 megawatts of solar power at “just below” 5¢ per kWh. The power will come from two West Texas solar facilities. [Energy Collective]

¶   Illinois’ first utility-scale solar installation owned and operated by an electric cooperative is in business. Directors, community leaders and federal and state officials joined co-op staff for the dedication of the new 500-kilowatt facility. [Electric Co-op Today]

¶   The woody biomass found in abundance in Southeast Alaska represents a significant energy resource for local communities such as Ketchikan. Wood byproducts from restoration and young growth management can displace fossil fuels. [SitNews]

¶   California utility regulators paved the way for contract negotiations on a new, natural gas power plant at Carlsbad in response to the early retirement of the San Onofre nuclear plant. The utility must also add additional renewables, efficiency, and storage. [U-T San Diego]

¶   Renewable Energy Systems Americas has received the final two permits it needs to build the 200 MW Pleasant Valley wind farm in Minnesota. The Mower County board voted 4-0 to approve use permits for the project substation and transmission line. [reNews]

¶   The Vermont Senate has voted to support a House-passed bill that would nearly quadruple the amount of power utilities could buy from customers with solar or other renewable energy systems. [WPTZ The Champlain Valley]

¶   New York’s clean energy policies, such as the Zero Emission Vehicle program, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution – the leading cause of global warming – according to a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center. [Long Island Exchange]


March 13 Energy News

March 13, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “A utility death spiral? Warren Buffett says no” Are traditional utilities falling to the wayside as micro grids and renewable energy — notably solar power — take root? It’s a notion that’s taking hold, but Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway aren’t buying it. [Sustainable Business Oregon]

World:

¶   In just the first 8 months of fiscal year 2013, 4.58 GW of solar photovoltaics were added in Japan, continuing the solar power surge taking place there. Government incentives have primarily been driving it — mainly a favorable feed-in tariff scheme.
[CleanTechnica]

¶   Three EU countries have already surpassed their renewable energy goals for 2020. Sweden, Bulgaria, and Estonia met their renewable energy goals 8 years ahead of schedule, fueled by substantial growth in wind power and biomass. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Britain could face at least 12 GW of power plant capacity going offline by the end of 2023 due to tighter European Union pollution regulation, Reuters calculations based on government data showed yesterday. [Irish Examiner]

¶   E.ON and Enel, two of Europe’s largest power utilities, said overnight they plan to shut more plants and cut costs, joining rivals in warning that the industry crisis will weigh on profits for years to come. [Business Spectator]

¶   Quebec regulators are reviewing Northland Power’s plans to build the 24 MW Frampton community wind project in Quebec. The wind farm will employ 12 Enercon E-82 2 MW turbines with substantial components supplied from Quebec manufacturing facilities. [reNews]

¶   Following an order to shut down coal plants, the website of Italian broadcaster Rai reported that prosecutors in the city of Savona are investigating Tirreno Power for “environmental disaster” and manslaughter, alleging that fumes killed 442 people. [International Business Times]

¶   Japan’s nuclear power regulator has chosen two reactors in southwestern Japan as the first candidates for being restarted under new regulations meant to prevent another disaster like the one at Fukushima in 2011. [Wall Street Journal]

US:

¶   PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest power transmission grid organization, announced last week that wind and solar power could generate about 30% of the electricity for its territory by 2026 without “any significant issues.” [Energy Collective]

¶   Iowa, which generates a quarter of its electricity by wind, made plans last year to add up to 5,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs in the state, according to the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

¶   A new EPA Tier 3 regulation was just completed to reduce current average gasoline sulfur content by up to 67%.  The health benefits by 2030 are estimated to prevent up to 2,000 premature deaths and substantially reduce the respiratory problems. [Energy Collective]

¶   A federal appeals court has turned aside an industry effort to weaken compliance requirements for environmental standards that reduce soot pollution from power plants, saying the EPA requirements are not arbitrary and capricious. [Chem.Info]


March 12 Energy News

March 12, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “EU could save €260bn more with ambitious renewable energy target” The European Commission has currently proposed a 27% target for 2030, which could save around €190 billion, but a target of 30% could save  €260 billion more. [Energy Live News]

Science and Technology:

¶   A startup called Liquid Light has developed an electrochemical process to use waste carbon dioxide as a starting ingredient for chemicals. The company says its method is significantly cheaper than conventional methods for converting CO2 into chemicals. [MIT Technology Review]

World:

¶   Reykjavik Geothermal, the Icelandic power-plant builder, plans to begin drilling in Ethiopia by July as part of a $2 billion project to develop the renewable energy source, Chief Operating Officer Gunnar Orn Gunnarsson said. [Bloomberg]

¶   Irish and British officials have three months to find out if new rules can be found to clear the way for a multibillion-euro wind energy plan in the midlands, following London talks between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron. [Irish Times]

¶   EdF, the mostly French government-owned nuclear giant proposing to build the $26 billion Hinkley Point C plant, is pushing the UK government to increase its carbon tax so the financials for the first nuclear plant in the UK for nearly three decades add up. [RenewEconomy]

¶   GE announced that it will supply SSE Renewables with ten 1.6 MW wind turbines for the Langhope Rig Wind Farm in Scotland . The 16 MW Langhope Rig Wind Farm will generate the equivalent energy needs of approximately 15,000 Scottish homes. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   An Italian judge has ordered Tirreno Power, 50% owned by France’s GDF Suez, to turn off two coal-fired units at its Vado Ligure plant due to environmental concerns, the Italian electricity generator said. [Reuters]

¶   GE announced 110 MW of orders to supply some of Germany’s newest wind farms with its brilliant 2.5-120 wind turbines. It will supply a total of 44 GE 2.5-120 wind turbines for eight new German wind farms. [Windpower Engineering]

¶   In response to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, 16 countries have taken steps to strengthen safety regulations relating to nuclear power generation, according to a report released by the US government Tuesday. [GlobalPost]

US:

¶   Gestamp Solar and 8minutenergy Renewables LLC today announced the signing of a 20-year contract to sell 50 megawatts of renewable solar energy from their Midway Solar Farm project in Imperial County to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. [Imperial Valley Press]

¶   Supervisors of Riverside County, California, approved the McCoy Solar Energy Project, which will entail erecting 516,000 solar arrays across 4,442 acres, with the possibility of generating up to 750 MW of PV energy. [Patch.com]

¶   Minnesota regulators today approved 29 renewable energy projects, predominately featuring solar technologies, to receive $42 million in grants from Xcel Energy’s Renewable Development Fund. [Fort Mills Times]

¶   Utility Central Maine Power Co. wants customers who generate some of their own electricity from renewable sources to pay higher monthly service charges, an idea being resisted by renewable energy advocates. [WGME]

¶   California’s hydro plants generated less power in 2013 than they had in 21 years, but the state’s water crisis hasn’t turned into an energy crisis, thanks to a mix of renewable energy, natural gas, and planning. [National Geographic]

¶   University of Missouri researchers have found that creating a bioenergy grid with these small plants could benefit people in rural areas of the country as well as provide relief to an overworked national power grid. [Eureka! Science News]

¶   The spill that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians has reignited debate in the state, not just over chemical and coal industry regulations but how the state’s reliance on these industries affects its people and environment. [ThinkProgress]

 


March 11 Energy News

March 11, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Three years later, the lessons of Fukushima are uglier than ever” Three years ago, on March 11, 2011, Tokyo time, what may be history’s worst, most enduring nuclear power plant disaster began in Japan. It’s a baleful anniversary that bears object lessons for the entire nuclear power industry in the U.S. and around the world. [Los Angeles Times]

¶   “These Utilities are Cleaning up their Acts” Carbon dioxide and global warming are big buzzwords today, and they’re enough to drive a utility CEO to distraction. However, that doesn’t mean that companies aren’t doing the right things. [Motley Fool]

¶   “Cheap Batteries to Revolutionize Renewable Energy Grid” When battery packs are cheap enough for put in the attic to story solar-generated electricity, how cost-effective will pylons and power stations be? [EV World]

Science and Technology:

¶   AES Corp says its energy storage division is selling batteries that are actually powerful enough to replace peaking power plants in arrays that range from tens of megawatts to 500 MW, costing $10 million to $500 million. [SustainableBusiness.com]

World:

¶   Power-One, a member of the ABB Group, will showcase a 4.6 kW/2 kWh energy storage system which enables self-consumption and energy independence for home owners at a symposium in Bad Staffelstein, Germany. [pv magazine]

¶   Romania has increased energy from renewables 6.1% from 2004 to 2012, and now draws almost 23% of power from green sources – well above the European average, and well on its way to its goal of 24% by 2020. [Romania-Insider.com]

¶   The cost to restart Japan’s nuclear power plants: $12.3 billion and counting. That’s the amount power companies have committed so far to meet tougher safety standards for the remaining 48 reactors on coastlines throughout earthquake-prone Japan. [Businessweek]

US:

¶   The city of Durango, after a five-year hiatus, is going to buy 100% green power from La Plata Electric Association this year. Customers pay a premium – 9¢ per 100 kWh over and above the going rate, down from $1.25 five years ago. [The Durango Herald]

¶   A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute and other organizations details the potential for appreciable customer defection from the electric grid in major markets by 2025 without incurring higher costs or lower reliability. [Electric Light & Power]

¶   With the launch of a wood-fueled downtown district heating system still six months away, officials in Vermont’s capital city on Monday set the goal of making Montpelier a “net-zero” user of fossil fuels by 2030. [Bennington Banner]

¶   According to the California Independent System Operator, record amounts of renewable electricity are being generated. Last Saturday, the state’s solar generation topped out at 4,093 MW, while the previous day saw 3,926 MW of solar on the grid. [The Desert Sun]

¶   Despite a delay in the implementation of a biomethane digester, Middlebury College’s sustainability director said the school is well on its way to reaching its goal of becoming completely carbon-neutral by 2016. [vtdigger.org]

¶   About 75% of people who want solar can’t get it. They live in multi-unit buildings, rent, or own homes surrounded by shade trees. Increasingly, states are utilizing community solar to solve this dilemma. [Solar Novus Today]

¶   Dakota Plains Energy aims to start conducting wind research for an early-stage 1000 MW, $2 billion, project in southeastern South Dakota. The Lincoln County Planning and Zoning Commission has approved up to 10 meteorological towers for the project. [reNews]

¶   At a House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, one presenter revealed that 36% of the gas by-product from oil obtained by fracking in the Bakken Shale basin was flared off as waste during a brutally cold midwest winter. [CounterPunch]

¶   Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday told a group of protesters from Cape Cod that he would write to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ask federal regulators to shut down the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth. [Wicked Local Plymouth]


March 10 Energy News

March 10, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Here’s Why Warren Buffett Is Betting Big on Renewable Energy” Buffett’s team at MidAmerican is not investing in renewables just because they are good for the planet – though I’m sure that does play some role – but because they are profitable. [Motley Fool]

Science and Technology:

¶   A decade ago, scientists predicted the specific, unprecedented change in the jet stream that has in fact caused the unprecedented nature of the California drought. Now, they think the actual situation in the next few decades could be even more dire. [Energy Collective]

¶   An ill-advised splurge on large dams across the developing world is likely to saddle countries with big debts, according to Oxford university researchers who have found such projects typically cost nearly twice as much as first estimated and rarely finish on time. [Financial Times]

¶   A new study, published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that the amount of increase in global temperature for each ton of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere may be higher than had been hoped. [KCET]

World:

¶   The threat of economic sanctions over the Ukraine would be more realistic if Europe did not depend so heavily on Russia for its natural gas. 40% of Germany’s natural gas and one third of Europe’s natural gas in general is imported from Russia. [Resilience]

¶   In Pakistan, around 24 solar power projects having a cumulative capacity of 793 MW are under different stages of development and will become functional by 2015-16, subject to availability of Grid and tariff. []

¶   A new report says that in the coming years, Africa and Asia will gradually overtake Europe as one of the key areas of growth in the production and use of renewable energy technologies. [PC Tech Magazine]

¶   Dow Solar, a business of The Dow Chemical Company, has appointed Canadian Energy as the exclusive authorized distributor of Dow Powerhouse™ Solar Shingles in Canada. It is a roof that pays for itself, generating energy savings and increasing overall home value. [SYS-CON Media]

¶   Clean energy and low-carbon investors are abandoning Australia as the new Federal government, and its conservative colleagues at state level, turn their interests and policies away from renewables and long-term abatement incentives. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Rich silver deposits first lured settlers to Germany’s Freiburg im Breisgau back in the 12th century, but today this quaint city is anything but medieval. Freiburg is a prototype for a clean-energy future that Germany is aggressively pursuing. [Alaska Dispatch]

¶   The Australian Energy Market Operator released its latest “Supply Demand” data for February, showing that demand continues to fall way below forecast, despite big revisions in the last few years. Rooftop solar plays a significant role in the change. [RenewEconomy]

¶   A few days before the third anniversary of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents, tens of thousands of anti-nuclear protesters gathered at the Hibiya Park in Tokyo. They are angry at the government for pushing to restart of the country’s 50 nuclear reactors. [The Japan Daily Press]

US:

¶   The Department of Education of Hawaii has partnered with Chevron Energy Solutions to launch a five-year sustainability program. This will include the installation of roughly 100 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) and 25 MW of wind to power microgrids at schools. [solarserver.com]

¶   Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and over twenty other senators will have an overnight session of the Senate’s Climate Action Task Force in what he terms a wake-up call on global warming. The overnight session will take place Monday night through Tuesday morning. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶    In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the US NRC made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants. [NBCNews.com]


March 9 Energy News

March 9, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Energy storage systems are expected to increasingly come online due to declining battery costs, as well as energy storage mandates. As a result of this, utilities are losing control of the electricity market. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   The installed capacity of solar PV in North and South America will increase more than tenfold over the coming years, jumping from 13.1 GW in 2013 to 138.8 GW by 2030 – according to a new report from consulting firm GlobalData. [CleanTechnica]

¶   An agreement between the Irish and British governments, which would allow power to be traded between both countries, is unlikely to go ahead, meaning at least 40 wind farms planned across five counties will be mothballed. [Irish Independent]

¶   At least 100,000 people from eight cities and counties of Taiwan took to the streets to demand that the government stop using nuclear power immediately, environmental protection organizations announced yesterday. [China Post]

¶   A majority of the Finish coalition government plans to approve a new permit for the construction of a nuclear plant. However one of the government’s junior partners – the Green League – says it’s not backing down from its opposition to more nuclear power. [YLE News]

US:

¶   Solar PV heavyweight SunEdison is expecting a huge surge in the number of large PV power plant projects completed this year, according to recent reports. The company is predicting a 90% increase in project completions in 2014, as compared to 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶   RGS Energy, a solar energy provider, and Mosaic, which offers solar investments online, announced that they have partnered to provide a simple and affordable way for American homeowners to finance ownership of their residential solar system. [Energy Collective]

¶   Vertimass LLC, a California-based start-up company, has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology that directly converts ethanol into a hydrocarbon blend-stock for use in transportation fuels. [Science Daily]

¶   Louisiana possesses the most renewable diesel production capacity in the country and possibly the world. Nearly a decade into the green fuels push, the state’s biofuels industry appears quite different than many imagined it would. [The Advocate]

¶   America’s energy infrastructure is dangerously vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to a new report released by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. [De Smog Blog]


March 8 Energy News

March 8, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Changing Times For Electric Utilities” The Edison Electric Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council gave a joint recommendation on changing utilities regulation, and Duke Energy is selling 13 merchant power plants. What’s up? [Forbes]

¶   “How To Cut Carbon Pollution By 80% In 4 Simple Steps” Moving to an energy system of tomorrow can be accomplished by leveraging clean, local resources; putting the consumer at the center; and maximizing efficiency. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶   Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI in Braunschweig, Germany, are developing insulation foam made from wood that could re-place petrochemical plastics in the long term. [Product Design & Development]

¶   A relatively low-cost means of converting carbon dioxide into methanol has been developed by researchers from Stanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Technical University of Denmark. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   The construction of the sub-sea cable project will support 450 jobs as part of a wider investment programme to create thousands of jobs on both sides of the Scottish border. The cable will run from Ayrshire to North Wales, carrying 2000 MW. [Glasgow Evening Times]

¶   Vestas has signed a framework agreement to supply up to 207 MW to a joint venture of German utility EnBW and Turkish company Borusan for five wind farms in Turkey. The deal starts with a firm order for nine V112 3.3 MW turbines. [reNews]

US:

¶   More than 90 Illinois cities and towns provide all renewable energy to their utility customers. Five other states allow communities to buy power from sources they choose, but none has matched Illinois for the number buying renewable power. [Herald & Review]

¶   The American Chemistry Council created a new Biobased Chemistry Network to help educate policymakers on how to develop workable regulatory programs for the growing biobased chemistry industry. [Environmental Leader]

¶   Despite relatively widespread concerns about its potential effects on the environment, 65% of Americans polled said the government should approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an increase from 59% in 2012. [Huffington Post]

¶   SunEdison, along with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, National Bank of Arizona, and Sol Systems have announced a $50 million fund to build a 13.4 MW solar power portfolio for the  State of California prison and hospital systems. [PennEnergy]

¶   The City of Beaverton, Oregon, is now purchasing 100% of its electricity from wind power sources under utility Portland General Electric’s renewable energy program. As renewable energy became less expensive, the city is able to buy it for all demands. [North American Windpower]

¶   Exelon’s six nuclear power plants in Illinois have failed to turn a profit over the last five years, and the 27-year-old plant in Clinton is the most vulnerable for closing, a Chicago Tribune analysis has found. [Chicago Tribune]

¶   President Barack Obama’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 withdraws federal funding for a long-delayed project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors. [Environment News Service]


March 7 Energy News

March 7, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Is BHP talking its book on coal? Or just ignorance.” Faced with the inevitable and irreversible slump in coal demand in western countries, particularly Germany and the US, Big Coal is turning its sights on the emerging world to secure its own future. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶   The latest Bloomberg prediction is that the solar market will grow +20% in 2014. Bloomberg suggests there will be around 44.5 GW installed. That is only a little less than the 46 GW suggested by the Deutsche Bank. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Green businesses will drive a third of UK economic growth this year, a UK diplomat has predicted. Bharat Joshi said climate-friendly growth “represents one of the biggest opportunities since the industrial revolution” at an industry conference in Chennai. [Business Green]

¶   The UK’s green economy is a “great long-term investment opportunity and it will get better”, Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chairman of the Green Investment Bank, told the National Association of Pension Funds investment conference in Edinburgh. [Herald Scotland]

¶   China’s Premier Li Keqiang has declared war on pollution, outlining significant steps the Chinese government will take to improve air quality. China has suffered from truly epic smog over the last two winters. [EconoMonitor]

¶   The Japanese government has budgeted more than ¥166 billion for technological development for cleanup at Fukushima Daiichi. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy says the technology may also help to deal with future disasters. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   Connecticut Governor Malloy visited Wesleyan University to officially power up the natural gas combined heat and power system that can keep the university’s lights on when utility power goes out during severe weather and other emergencies. [Middletown Press]

¶   American wind power topped 4% of the U.S. power grid for the first time last year and has delivered 30% of all new generating capacity for the last five years. In nine states it provided more than 12% and in 17 states, more than 5%. [Windpower Engineering]

¶   For 2013, solar PV installations increased 41% from the previous year, reaching 4,751 MW installed, the Solar Energy Association and GTM Research found in a solar market report for 2013. [The9Billion]

¶   Hundreds of acres of Maryland farmland that are protected from development at taxpayer expense could be turned into commercial wind or solar energy farms under legislation before the General Assembly. [Baltimore Sun]

¶   Iowa, the top state for wind, is edging close to 30%. Last year it got 27% of electricity from wind, followed by South Dakota with 26%. With 5117 megawatts (MW) installed, 1.4 million Iowan homes are supplied by clean energy. [SustainableBusiness.com]

¶   A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council says US nuclear reactors remain vulnerable to the threat of runaway hydrogen production and leakage in a severe nuclear accident, with little or no capacity to vent it safely. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶   A study by GE Energy Consulting says that with adequate transmission investment, in the PJM Interconnection, up to 30% of their electricity could come from renewable resources, primarily large-scale wind and solar, in 2026 without a detrimental effects. [Environment & Energy Publishing]


March 6 Energy News

March 6, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “5 Reasons Solar’s Win Over Gas In Minnesota Is Just The Beginning” If solar trumps gas for peaking power in Minnesota, there’s little reason to be building new natural gas peaking capacity anywhere in the country.  Ever again. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Members of Parliament (MPs) have urged The Bank of England to investigate its exposure to a so-called “carbon bubble”, whereby billions of pounds of fossil fuel assets will become massively overvalued if the world is successful in tackling climate change. [Business Green]

¶   Swindon is set to become one of the leading towns in the UK for renewable energy as plans due to go before the planning committee next week could see a big increase in solar power and hydrogen power. [Swindon Advertiser]

¶   A report from by Dods Renewable Energy Dialogue says that 63% of surveyed MPs “agreed with the idea that renewable energy benefited the UK economy” while 69% “agreed that renewables would create significant employment opportunities”. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   According to the latest figures, wind energy met 11% of the UK’s total electricity demand in February, breaking the previous 10% record set in December. The new figures underline energy security, as Russia could restrict gas supplies to Europe. [Off-Grid]

¶   Canadians are more willing to pay a premium for the generation of renewable energy than Americans, with 63% willing to pay up to $250 more each year versus 46% in the US. The survey polled 1,500 Canadians and 1,000 Americans. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   German researchers are developing mass-charging station for electric vehicles fully powered by renewable resources. The station at the Fraunhofer Institute Centre in Stuttgart is on a micro smart grid managing the electricity demand and supply. [E&T magazine]

¶   A new Greenpeace-commissioned report says Europe’s nuclear power plants pose an increasing risk to millions of Europeans as the facilities age, and as governments decide to extend the operation of plants beyond their originally intended lifetimes. [Al Jazeera America]

US:

¶   Cape Cod is one step closer to getting its first offshore wind farm, a project that’s been trying to get off the ground for more than a decade. Now there are indications that it may be commissioned by 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Chipotle Mexican Grill says guacamole and some salsas could become victims of global warming. The restaurant chain, in an annual report, listed drought and global weather change among a long list of business risks faced by the company. [CNN]

¶   Since a February spill of coal ash into the Dan River, five more Duke Energy power plants have received citations for lacking required storm water permits. The spill also spurred dialogue on the importance of renewable energy such as solar and wind power. [Duke Chronicle]

¶   News out that utility Austin Energy will meet its goal of 35% electricity coming from renewable energy four years ahead of schedule says something about solar and wind power. Austin’s newest commitments bring its wind portfolio to 1.3 GW. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

¶   Community Energy announced that its Comanche Solar project will supply 120 MW to Xcel Energy comprising the largest part of a 170 megawatt portfolio of solar generation approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in December, 2013. [AZoCleantech]

¶   President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal released March 4, calls for extending a tax credit for cellulosic biofuels and puts forward the idea of cutting billions in fossil fuel subsidies. [Biomass Magazine]

¶   Nuclear energy provider USEC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday after delays in a major centrifuge project and shifts in the global market made it impossible for the company to repay debt due later this year. [Lynchburg News and Advance]


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